PENALTY RATE CUT WILL MAKE HOUSING STRESS WORSE

24 Feb 2017

By cutting penalty rates of the working poor the Fair Work Commission (FWC), supported by the Prime Minister and over 60 Coalition MPs, has made rental stress worse.

By cutting penalty rates of the working poor the Fair Work Commission (FWC), supported by the Prime Minister and over 60 Coalition MPs, has made rental stress worse.

Rental stress is defined as a household spending more than 30 percent of its gross income on housing. The latest figures (from 2013-14) show that 575,199, or 42.5 per cent, of low income households are in rental stress. That figure has been steadily increasing, up from 35.4 percent in 2007-8.

If the rate of increase has continued since 2014, there are now 650,000 households, more than half of low income households, in rental stress. Many of them rely on penalty rates to pay the rent and cover their bills.

Cutting penalty rates is a kick in the teeth for low income households struggling to pay the rent, and the Turnbull Government should hang its head in shame for pushing for these cuts.

The FWC decision come after a concerted campaign from the Prime Minister, the Liberal and National parties, the big business lobby and the employers’ associations to attack the take-home pay of some of Australia’s most vulnerable, insecure and low paid workers.

The direct result will be more households in rental stress and more homelessness.

The National Party’s support for cuts to penalty rates is particularly alarming considering the contribution penalty rates make to the incomes of people working in the regions and small towns.

Labor will not stand by and allow people on low incomes who rely on penalty rates to have their take-home pay cut.

THURSDAY, 23 FEBRUARY 2017