Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says reducing Sunday penalty rates would be 'unfair'

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Mellisa Lange (R), a hospitality assistant from Adelaide, carries dinner entrees from one of five kitchens on the outback Australian train known as the Ghan, on its inaugural journey in Australia's Northern Territory on February 2, 2004. Reuters/Tim Wimborne

Annastacia Palaszczuk, the Queensland premier, has criticised the proposed changes to the Sunday penalty rates, saying it is unfair to strip away the extra payment facility for working on a Sunday. However, she said that she will hold on to see the decision of the federal government on the Productivity Commission report released on Monday.

"On a Sunday, people are giving up quality family time to go and work and now we see the federal government is looking at stripping that away," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Palaszczuk as saying. "It's not fair because families, our mums and dads out there, their children, go and work on a Sunday when they could be spending time with their family at home undertaking family activities. That is why they are paid more. The report has just been handed down. It's going to be very interesting to see where the federal government lands on this particular issue."

According to the new employment minister, Grace Grace, lowering the Sunday penalty rates would be a move in the wrong direction. She added that it would not necessarily mean it will give way to more jobs. Penalty rates have been around for a long time and they are a part of the worker’s take home pay.

The Productivity Commission on Monday released a report suggesting cuts in Sunday penalty rates for retail and hospitality sectors. The report backed equal pay for Sunday and Saturday for workers in restaurant, hospital, café, entertainment and retail sectors.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash did not support the recommendations directly and said the government will hold consultations with the Australian people on the suggested changes. However, the proposed changes in the penalty rates have found support from industry leaders who believe the move will create 40,000 jobs as it will develop a more lucrative climate for businesses.

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