A Federal frontbencher has put weekend penalty rates back in the spotlight saying axing them could benefit the economy.
Newly appointed Northern Australia and Resources Minister, Josh Frydenberg, told the Ten Network that weekend penalty rates should be examined by the Coalition government, led by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
The comments come as Mr Turnbull spoke last week about reviewing the rates.
“Malcolm Turnbull’s absolutely right to point to industrial relations as one area where it does cost business and ultimately it does cost jobs,” Mr Frydenberg told the Ten Network.
“In the resources sector it costs 50 per cent more in Australia to have an energy project than if you were to have [it] on the US Gulf coast.
“Now one of the key components of that is industrial relations, which decreases productivity and increases cost.”
When Mr Frydenberg was quizzed on whether the government needed to look at cutting Sunday penalty rates, he said: “This is an area we need to look at because if it means more jobs and changing there, that could be good for the economy.”
Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) CEO, Kate Carnell, told Fairfax Media that they welcomed the minister’s comments.
She said: “High Sunday penalty rates prevented cafes and restaurants from trading longer hours or opening on the weekend”.
The Productivity Commission is reviewing the Fair Work Act and had already handed an interim report to the government.
Labor opposes changes to penalty rates.