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Baillieu turns his back on Victorian workers

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Ted Baillieu has turned his back on Victorian working families by calling for restraint in minimum wage increases in a submission to Fair Work Australia Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations Tim Pallas said today.

Mr Pallas said the Baillieu Government had pledged to reduce the cost of living for Victorian families but was now arguing in favour of keeping federal wage increases as low as possible for workers reliant on minimum wages.

"Mr Baillieu should be ashamed for misleading Victorian families by saying he wants to reduce the cost of living yet wants to restrict wages for the lowest paid workers," Mr Pallas said.

"This is a slap in the face for low-income workers and shows just how out of touch Mr Baillieu is with Victorian families.

Mr Pallas said the Baillieu Government was running away from election promises to increase the pay rates for teachers, police officers and community sector workers.

"The Baillieu Government has backed away from pre-election promises made by Community Services Minister Mary Wooldridge to honour any pay increases awarded by the independent umpire Fair Work Australia for workers in the social and community services sector," he said.

"The Coalition ran around the state promising the world but now that it's time for them to step up and starting delivering, they are suddenly unable to put their money where their mouth is.

"Just over 100 days in Government and the Coalition is already punishing workers who work extremely hard in taking care of some of our most vulnerable Victorians.

"This is a Government that is quickly gaining a reputation for stripping away the rights of Victorian workers and backing away from promises to boost wages.

"We've already seen Mr Baillieu break his commitment to make Victorian teachers the highest paid in the country and he has backflipped over another pre-election pledge on police wages.

Mr Pallas said it was telling that the first piece of legislation passed by the Coalition Government would most likely be the Shop Trading Reform Bill, allowing businesses to trade on Sundays.

"While members of the Coalition spend the day with family and friends on Easter Sunday, retail workers will be forced to work without any compensation," he said.

"Labor will seek to make changes to the Public Holiday Act to ensure that workers forced to work on Easter Sunday receive public holiday rates, but so far the Baillieu Government has rejected this.

"In just over 100 days of government Mr Baillieu has repeatedly shown that his priorities lie with business rather than Victorian families."

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