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Hartsuyker highlights impact of Rudd's workplace laws on local businesses.

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Media Contact: Greg Pierce 02 66 52 62 33 0408 532 785 Canberra: 62 77 4447

Luke Hartsuyker MP Federal Member for Cowper


June 24, 2009

Hartsuyker highlights impact of Rudd’s workplace laws on local businesses

The impact of the Rudd Government’s new workplace awards on local businesses has been highlighted in the Federal Parliament by local MP Luke Hartsuyker.

Mr Hartsuyker said many businesses faced increased labour costs of more than 30 per cent as a result of the Rudd Government policies. He highlighted representations he had received from two local businesses - Blueberry business BerryExchange in Corindi and the Nambucca River Co-operative

I would like to quote a letter I received from industry,” Mr Hartsuyker told the Parliament.

“This is not this side of the House speaking; it is industry speaking. It is very much a call to members opposite to hear the concerns of industry. BerryExchange, a major employer in my electorate, said (of the Rudd Government policy):

‘… any increases in labour costs imposed through the modern award will make the industry less competitive against overseas farmers and growers.

Their General Manager, Peter McPherson, goes on to say:

‘Initial data gathered in the sector indicates that these changes will increase labour costs by … 30%. ‘Also given the minimum hourly rate is guaranteed under a modern award, employers will no longer be able to employ certain

groups of employees that are currently being paid according to the volume of fruit they pick. … the increase in costs will impact on our decision to invest in the electorate … the existence of our operation at Corindi is under threat.’

“There we have one of the largest private sector employers in my electorate saying that the very existence of their operation is under threat,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“Here we have a decision by this government which may reduce the viability of a major employer in my electorate to the point where it would close. How does that benefit the economy locally? How does that benefit the economy nationally? We are waiting for an explanation, and all we get is silence.

Media Contact: Greg Pierce 02 66 52 62 33. Mobile 0408 532 785 Email: Canberra: 6277 4447

“How does a local producer explain to his customers on a Monday that, because he has to pay a 200 per cent labour premium for picking on Sunday, he will no longer have any goods to provide for Monday markets?

“Does that mean that Monday retail produce markets will be a thing of the past? Does that mean that we will be missing a whole day’s productivity purely because of this ridiculous, allegedly modern, award situation?”

Mr Hartsuyker also quoted concerns which had been raised to him by the Nambucca River Co-operative.:

The Nambucca River Co-operative Manager Simone Howie said:

‘If this award becomes operative it will have a serious and damaging effect on my business. We provide an important service to our local community but we may be unable to do that in the future if we are required to pay these large increases.’

“This makes a mockery of the Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Julia Gillard assertion that no employer or employee would be worse off under these new awards,” Mr Hartsuyker said.