Welcome to Australian Hostels Association, WA


CEO’s Report – Sunday Penalty Rates

Progress is being made on the issue of penalty rates with a big win coming out of the Productivity Commission’s report that recommends Sunday penalty rates be removed for hospitality workers, aligning them with Saturday rates. The Commission believes lower regulated Sunday rates would increase opening hours and encourage higher staffing ratios and job opportunities – the AHA agrees.

The AHA is pursuing a sensible policy debate on penalty rates and for the Australian union movement to understand that there is a pool of workers who for whatever reason are unemployed or underemployed and want work on the weekends. Tourism and hospitality is best positioned to absorb these workers and provide them with jobs, but it is currently not affordable.

The Australian economy is in transition. Manufacturing in the future will not provide for Australia what it has in the past; likewise the huge economic boost provided by mining and petroleum has gone. Australia in the future will become more and more of a services sector and at the moment we are underservicing people on weekends because of high weekend premium rates.

This is our first opportunity in many years to create more hours of work and more jobs for people who want jobs and more hours of work. The focus on penalty rates has coincided with Tourism Accommodation Australia’s appointment of Chair, Martin Ferguson who has long advocated for change on penalty rates that inhibit additional hours of work for low paid and casual workers. The work of TAA in this space doesn’t just involve accommodation hotels; it affects the entire tourism in hospitality industry that for too long has been held back by an unfair and obsolete industrial relations framework. TAA’s top three policy priorities are:

  • Workplace conditions inclusive of employment-inhibiting penalty rates;
  • Addressing barriers to sustainable accommodation growth and investment inclusive of the proliferation of unregulated shortterm accommodation, increasing international marketing investment and reducing regulation; and
  • Addressing labour and skills shortages, with visa relaxation a high priority.

What makes this news even better is that on 18 August 2015 the Government introduced the Liquor Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 to amend the Liquor Control Act 1988. This is the first of two stages of legislation to implement supported recommendations of the Independent Review of the Liquor Control Act.

The AHA(WA) has secured reforms to core trading hours to extend Sunday trading for hotels and taverns to midnight. This is a significant win and follows ongoing and high level advocacy by the AHA on behalf of the interests of hotel and tavern operators.

Initially, changes to trading hours were recommended by the Independent Review Committee to be extended to midnight ONLY when a Sunday proceeds a gazetted public holiday Monday.

The decision by the Barnett Government to go further is welcome and demonstrates they are listening to the public and understand the needs of modern consumers who no longer believe they should be sent to bed at 10pm on Sunday.

Kind regards
Bradley Woods


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