Change back on the menu
SCRAPPING penalty rates for hospitality workers may lead to more jobs, says Yamba Street Cafe manager Victor Weare.
An industry veteran, Mr Weare said more young people could be employed and retained in the area if penalty rates for working weekends and public holiday were abolished.
He said it could also attract more tourists due to small businesses, cafes and restaurants staying open longer hours.
"We need to look at how to keep young kids in small towns," Mr Weare said.
"And if we can create more jobs, then we create more taxpayers."
He said cafes such as his would be able to employ more staff and open longer hours if penalty rates were abolished. At the very least, he said, a review of the industry was long overdue.
"Penalty rates were brought in at a time of full employment," Mr Weare said.
But he said times had changed and now was the time to discuss the options.
"It's a big subject and there's no easy answer. Whatever you do has ramifications.
"At this stage it would be a brave political party who would lower wages."
Mr Weare said he stood behind an appeal by industry body Restaurant and Catering Australia, of which he is a member, to overturn a decision of the Fair Work Commission to reject all major changes proposed by the industry.
Restaurant and Catering chief executive John Hart earlier this week asked the commission to reconsider the adverse affects of penalty rates to the sector, including on productivity and employment costs.
The matter will be referred to the president of the Fair Work Commission, who will allocate a full bench to hear the appeal.