The ANF put in place a Penalty Rate strategy in 2014 in response to newsagents telling us that we need to effect change to these rates. Our penalty rates survey of members resulted in many hundreds of responses supporting this. Unfortunately, the number of newsagents willing to engage with the strategy and spend 10 minutes writing to their local MP to build momentum in parliament on this issue has been very disappointing. We recognise newsagents are busy and that we have outlined that this will be a long-term strategy, however the response so far has us questioning if current penalty rates must be OK for the majority of newsagents?
2015 is turning out to be the year for reviewing industrial relations in Australia. Treasurer Joe Hockey has, right before Christmas 2014, instructed the Productivity Commission (PC) to undertake an inquiry into the performance of the workplace relations framework in Australia during 2015. This opportunity coincides with the review of Modern Awards already underway that the ANF will make a submission to later in the year when the General Retail Industry Award is considered in group four of the awards reviewed and will allow us to put newsagent issues with the Fairwork framework firmly on the table.