The inconvenient truth of the penalty rates debate is that, far from being destroyed by penalty rates as employers and right-wing lobbyists claim, Australia's cafe and restaurant sector is booming and in recent years has been one of Australia's fastest-growing sectors and employers.
The Easter break brought plenty of wild rhetoric from business groups penalty rates, echoing long-running themes from the Coalition and the Right generally about the destructive nature of penalty rates -- that they are "crippling
" businesses that want to open on public holidays and weekends, that they are "killing
" restaurants, that penalty rates "cost jobs
"; that penalty rates are "out of touch
" with community values.
Alas, hard data shows that's wrong, wrong and wrong.
If, as the Institute of Public Affairs claimed in 2012, penalty rates are killing the cafe and restaurants sector, it's lately undergone an Easter-like resurrection, because it is now one of the fastest-growing business sectors in the entire economy. ABS data on business numbers
released in March shows that the net rate of growth in businesses in cafes and restaurants is far higher than in the overall economy.