‘Another kick in the guts’

Terang Co-Op general manager Charlie Duynhoven and former after school shift worker Matthew Spencer are disappointed Fair Work Australia dismissed the latest appeal on minimum hours for casual employees.

FAIR Work Australia has dealt two Terang students another blow in their fight to be able to work after school.
Last week Fair Work Australia dismissed an appeal by the National Retail Association against the ruling on three-hour minimum shifts for students.
Terang College students Leticia Harrison and Matthew Spencer became the face of the push to have the after school shifts of local teenagers reinstated after changes to the Modern Award deemed them unlawful.
The duo collated a petition that they then handed to then industrial relations minister Julia Gillard’s office in the hope of having changes made to the new modern award. 
The new award states that an employee must not be engaged to work for any less than three hours, making after school shifts from 4pm to 5.30pm impossible. 
Leticia said the news was a ‘kick in the guts’.
“It’s not the news we were hoping for.
“What we need now is for Julia Gillard to honour her word and find a solution to the problem,” she said. 
National Retail Association executive director Gary Black said the decision had sent them back to square one.
“Fair Work Australia left the door open for another appeal and we will lodge a new application to fight the current law.
“Hopefully it will be third time lucky.
“There should be no need for another application.
“It was entirely in the power of Fair Work Australia in both the original decision and subsequent appeal to limit its decision to young employees after school,” he said.
Mr Black said the decision would make things even tougher for struggling small retailers such as newsagents and grocers.
“This decision highlights the flaws in the one size fits all modern award process.
“There is no flexibility; the new awards don’t take into account the needs of people in regional areas or the needs of students.
“They are a major failure in legislation, the bar has been set too high,” Mr Black said. 
Member for Wannon Dan Tehan said the dismissal was disappointing news.
“It’s another blow to students wanting to work before and after school.
“It’s time Julia Gillard stood up and honoured her promise to fix the problem,” he said.
Mr Tehan said on February 8 this year Julia Gillard said, through a spokesperson, attempts were being made to come to an arrangement that suited both the employer and the teenagers.
“But during the two appeals she and her government have remained silent,” he said
Mr Tehan said the quickest way for the issue to be resolved would be for the Minister for Industrial Relations Chris Evans to step in.
“I have written to Mr Evans and asked him to do so,
“We need to stop the nonsense and fix it.
“The Gillard Government needs to stand up and fix the problem as Julia Gillard said she would,” he said.
Mr Tehan said he was 100 per cent behind the National Retail Association’s decision to launch a third appeal.
“I thank the National Retail Association for getting behind this cause.
“I will not stop fighting for this, I owe it to Matthew and Leticia for all the hard work they have done.
“I will be taking it up in my maiden speech to the House of Representatives on October 27,” Mr Tehan said.
Terang Co-Op general manager Charlie Duynhoven said the news was disappointing. 
“It is very disappointing and unfair for the students who have lost their jobs.
“Julia Gillard stated that no Australian would be worse off under the new award and this is clearly not the case.  
“These students want to continue working for an hour and a half after school in our hardware store and because we are a country store we can only offer those hours,” Mr Duynhoven said.

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