Employment minister Michaelia Cash wants penalty rates debate; Kathmandu to focus on Australian market: Midday Roundup

Employment minister Michaelia Cash wants penalty rates debate; Kathmandu to focus on Australian market: Midday Roundup

Australia’s new employment minister and minister for women, Michaelia Cash says she welcomes a debate about penalty rates but the Turnbull government has no plans as yet to scrap the current system.

Speaking on ABC Radio this morning, the Liberal senator said she is awaiting the Productivity Commission’s final report before making a final decision about whether or not to reform Australia’s industrial relations system.

“I will review that report calmly and methodically, and if there is a case for good and sensible change to bring balance to the Fair Work framework, these will be clearly outlined by the government and taken to the next election to seek a mandate,” Cash said.

Small businesses have been crying out for an “equal playing field” for some time. They argue Sunday penalty rates should be made more consistent across various sectors so that smaller players are not at a disadvantage competing against larger companies who can afford to pay their staff higher award wages.

Resources minister Josh Frydenberg earlier this week said penalty rates is an area the government needs to look at in order to create more jobs.

Frydenberg has since been joined by Tasmanian MP Andrew Nikolic, who says he has been contacted by numerous small businesses in his electorate who say they need urgent reform.


Kathmandu to focus on Australian market


Outdoor and adventure gear retailer Kathmandu will place renewed focus on its Australian and New Zealand businesses after revealing it is scrapping plans to expand into Europe and will close its four British stores.

Kathmandu’s new chief executive Xavier Simonet flagged the move this week on the back of reports of a slump in profit results for the full year.

The retailer’s net profit after tax has fallen from NZ$42.2 million ($38.3 million) in 2014 to NZ$20.4 million ($18.5 million).

In a statement to shareholders, Simonet said the results are “disappointing and well below expectations”.

“The FY2015 result has highlighted the need to review our cost structure and we have taken decisive action on this already,” he said.

“It has also emphasised the need to optimise our pricing strategy and promotional model in order to improve same store sales growth and profitability in existing stores.

“These levers will remain a strong focus for management in FY2016.”

Simonet revealed Kathmandu will open three new stores in Melbourne and Adelaide in 2016.

On the decision to close the UK stores, Simonet cited the importance of building on “brand equity and online platform to expand internationally using a capital light model”.


Shares down on open

Aussie shares are trading slightly higher this morning after taking a heavy beating yesterday.

Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets, said the Aussie market has rallied following Wall Street’s close.

“Oil prices are higher, as are industrial metals,” McCarthy said.

“The key issue for the Australian share market today is whether this rejection of the sell-off will see some of $56 billion of value destroyed yesterday restored in trading today.”

The S&P/ASX 200 benchmark was up 41.8 points to 4918.4 points at 11:45am AEST. On Tuesday, the Dow Jones closed 47.24 points higher, up 0.30% to 16,049.13 points.



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