REMOVING minimum wage entitlements would not boost employment, according to Federal Member for Wakefield, Nick Champion.
Mr Champion’s comments come after South Australian Senator, Bob Day, delivered his first speech earlier this month, in which he claimed allowing employers to pay people under minimum wage would improve job prospects.
Mr Day said modern apprenticeships were both too expensive and restrictive, putting employers off taking on budding tradies.
“We have made employing apprentices such a nightmare that few tradespeople are willing to take them on, yet there are thousands of unemployed young people who would love to learn a trade and get a start in the workforce,” he said.
“I know hundreds of tradesmen—carpenters, bricklayers, tilers —who left school at 15 and have gone on to lead very happy and successful lives.”
Mr Champion cited the United States of America as living proof of what happens when the minimum wage is reduced.
“If you look at that situation, there is little link between lowering wages and employment,” he said.
“Minimum wage there is about $6 an hour but their unemployment rate is higher than ours.
Mr Day felt the minimum wage (about $640 a week) was set too high. “We do not permit anyone to work for any amount between nought and $640.
“We praise people who work for no money—working up to 40 hours a week in op shops and nursing homes and for the RSPCA—but we do not allow them to work for more than zero until you reach $640.
“There are literally thousands of jobs in rural and regional Australia where young people, in particular, who are living at home rent-free, with no commuting costs and a low cost of living, would be able to get local jobs which suit them,” he said.