Fair Work to phase in Sunday rate cuts

Fast food, hospitality, retail and pharmacy workers will see their Sunday penalty rates drop by five percentage points on July 1.

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But the full impact of the rate cut won’t be felt until 2019 for some workers and 2020 for others.

The Fair Work Commission on Monday released its decision into the transitional arrangements for the Sunday penalty rate cut, which was announced in February.

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The commission found the existing Sunday penalty rates in the four industries “do not achieve the modern awards objective” and they overcompensate employees for Sunday work.

“Given this conclusion, we are not satisfied that it is appropriate to impose any further delay in the implementation of our decision,” the commission’s full bench said.

But the commission acknowledged cutting Sunday rates on July 1 meant employees would only have had four months notice.

“In these circumstances, it is appropriate that the first step in the transition be smaller than subsequent steps,” it said.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said the “adjustments” levelled the playing field for Australia’s small businesses, but they have been labelled appalling by opposition leader Bill Shorten.

The first cut will be five percentage points, with more significant cuts in 2018, 2019 for fast food and hospitality workers.

Retail and pharmacy workers will have their cuts phased in until 2020.

Public holiday penalty rates will drop 25 percentage points from July 1 for fast food, hospitality, restaurant, retail and pharmacy workers.

Dominique Lamb, the chief executive of the National Retail Association (NRA), said she was disappointed with the long transition period.

“Australian retailers are paying some of the highest wages in the world, and it’s often not viable to even open their doors on a Sunday because they can’t even cover the wages let alone turn a profit, and that doesn’t help anyone.”

She added: “Four years is a really long time, and adds complexity to an already complex system.”

The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group), which represents more than 60,000 businesses, said the decision was cautious but fair.

Ms Cash said the ruling would help thousands of small businesses open their doors.

“Throughout this process the Fair Work Commission has cited many examples of small business owners who work on Sundays for free, but would rather hire staff, or businesses that would provide services on Sundays but cannot because of penalty rate levels,” she said in a statement.

But the cuts to penalty rates were criticised by Mr Shorten, who said they came at a time when wages were falling in real terms.

“The solution is simple – these cuts can be stopped if Malcolm Turnbull supports Labor’s legislation to do so.”

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Hasler’s Dogs hurting after horror start

Des Hasler is facing the toughest test of his illustrious coaching career after Canterbury limped to the worst ever start by a team under his watch.

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Hasler became just the 10th coach in premiership history to rack up 350 games on Sunday however the occasion was overshadowed by his side’s 38-0 mauling to Penrith which saw them slump to 14th.

After 13 rounds the Dogs are just two wins off the bottom of the table and it represents the lowest position a Hasler-coached team has occupied at the season halfway mark.

The 56-year-old has amassed one of the finest records of any modern day coach having made 12 successive finals series and possessing a 58 per cent career success rate – the fifth highest of any coach to have overseen 350-plus games.

In a show of faith, the Bulldogs board earlier in the year re-signed him to a two-year contract extension until the end of 2019 however his side finds themselves with their backs to the wall after four straight defeats.

The Bulldogs’ 2017 is the poorest start by a Hasler side, even worse than his rookie season at Manly in 2004 when they were 13th and 4-8 through the first 13 rounds.

It’s unfamiliar territory for the two-time premiership-winning coach who has only been outside the top eight at this point of the season on three occasions in 14 years – in 2004, 2009 and this year.

The Bulldogs have been stilted in attack this season, scoring the equal least points per game (13.7) level with the Tigers, according to Fox Sports Stats.

They have also made the fourth least metres per game (1370m) and the least linebreaks per game (3.2).

Hasler described Sunday’s loss to the Panthers as not up to first grade standard and lamented his side’s ability to maintain possession and build pressure.

The Bulldogs could receive a timely boost with five-eighth Josh Reynolds scheduled to return from a hamstring injury against St George Illawarra on Monday.

HASLER’S COACHING RECORD

Where Des Hasler-coach sides have sat after 13 rounds and their win-loss record:

* 2017 – 14th, 5-8

* 2016 – 7th, 7-6

* 2015 – 7th, 6-6

* 2014 – 2nd, 8-4

* 2013 – 7th, 7-6

* 2012 – 3rd, 8-5

* 2011 – 3rd, 9-3

* 2010 – 4th, 7-5

* 2009 – 10th, 5-7

* 2008 – 1st, 8-4

* 2007 – 2nd, 10-2

* 2006 – 6th, 7-5

* 2005 – 2nd, 9-3

* 2004 – 13th, 4-8.

Radical anti-migrant group plans to block rescuers on Mediterranean Sea

A radical European anti-immigrant group says it has crowdfunded almost $100,000 to block humanitarian rescue boats on the Mediterranean in an attempt to stop them from saving migrants and bringing them to the European mainland.

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“Mass immigration is changing the face of our continent – we’re losing our safety, our way of life,” one member of the identitarian group said in a promotional video.

Intercut with footage of young men speaking are images of migrant rescues and terror attacks on mainland Europe.

More than 71,000 migrants have travelled across the Mediterranean so far this year, the majority arriving in Italy.

Packed into overcrowded, unseaworthy boats, more than 1,700 have drowned making the journey in the past six months.

Government-operated rescue ships and passing commercial vessels have rescued thousands of migrants in recent years, though EU officials estimate that roughly 40 per cent of stranded migrants are picked up by boats deployed by charities and NGOs.

The Sicily-based anti-immigrant identitarian group says with its new funding it will gather a crew, organise a boat and take to the Mediterranean to block NGOs and “chase down” trafficking ships.

A video shows several members navigating a small boat and lighting flares in front of the Aquarius, an SOS Mediterranee rescue ship supported by Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).

On its website – available in English, French, Italian and German – the group accuses humanitarian rescuers of colluding with people smugglers.

In response to previous criticism, MSF has said rescue boats are not the cause of the crisis, but a response to it.

The NGO has described its response as humanitarian, not political, noting that without intervention many more deaths would occur at sea.

Please find here some recent data. Dedicated to all those who talk about an “invasion”. pic.twitter苏州美甲培训学校按摩论坛,/6emkfhCCiL

— MSF Sea (@MSF_Sea) May 29, 2017

Fabrice Leggeri, head of the EU border protection agency Frontex, earlier this year told a German newspaper that while everyone at sea has a duty to save people in need, he did have concerns over the way NGOs operated.

“We must avoid supporting the criminal networks and smugglers in Libya through European ships rescuing migrants ever closer and closer to the Libyan coast,” he told Die Welt.

“This means that the smugglers force even more migrants than the years before onto unseaworthy boats, without enough water and fuel.”

DATELINE: Europe’s young, hip far-right

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Poor numbers behind drive for Arabic women’s breast screening

Randa Kattan has been chief executive of the Arab Council of Australia for over 15 years.

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Her passion lies in social justice and improving the lives of the Arabic community.

But a decade ago, Ms Kattan’s own future prospects were looking ominous.

“Back in 2007, I felt like a pain going right through me. And that led me to examine my breasts. And I found a lump, and I could swear that it wasn’t there yesterday (the day before).”

A mammogram and ultrasound diagnosed the lump, initially believed to be a cyst, as breast cancer.

It was aggressive, capable of spreading to her whole body, but Ms Kattan says early detection allowed it to be quickly removed — and saved her life.

“In my case, it’s extremely lucky that I found it when I did, and (it’s) extremely crucial that it is detected very early, because the survival rate … I’m 10 years down the track, and I’m around to tell the tale.”

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among Australian women.

But recent figures show more than 9,000 from New South Wales’ Arabic community alone have not been screened in the past two years.

That has prompted Breast Screen New South Wales to launch an awareness campaign to highlight the importance of getting screened.

And Randa Kattan is a leading voice behind it.

“I think it’s extremely important that we tell the others, and, when I found out the numbers and that we are under-represented in screening and so they don’t take up that free option, that’s quite alarming — to find out that there is screening available and people are not taking up that option. It could save lives.”

Campaign director Naomi Combe says she thinks the best way to raise awareness is from woman to woman.

“So what we hope to do is engage with women, especially using champions from their own communities, to talk them around and explain to them that there is no need to be concerned about the various different barriers and to work with them so that they understand the most important thing to do to look after their health is to screen regularly, every two years, to give themselves peace of mind and to make sure that they’re looking after their health.”

The director of the Breast Cancer Unit at Sydney’s Westmead Hospital, Dr Nirmala Pathmanathan, says many of the barriers are myths.

A key one, she says, is that breast cancer is a “white woman’s” disease.

“First of all, they think to themselves, ‘Well, we don’t have a family history, this is not a common disease for us, it doesn’t affect us — it’s a white woman’s disease.’ Secondly, they may feel that their role as a wife and a mother takes precedence over their own health, so they won’t take the time to actually come and have a mammogram. They may also feel that, you know, ‘I don’t have a lump in my breast. I don’t need to have this test. I’m perfectly well, why would I need to have this test?’ And also there’s the stigmatisation around cancer. So there’s this misconception that breast cancer is a fatal disease — it’s got the c-word, the cancer word. But in reality, it’s highly treatable, particularly when it’s picked up early.”

But cancers can sometimes be as small as a grain of rice, and experts say only advanced technology and equipment in hospitals and breast clinics can detect them.

Mammograms are free for women between ages 50 and 74, and Dr Pathmanathan says women should take advantage.

“Cancer is not the death sentence that we used to believe it is. It is definitely an eminently treatable disease, and we’re very lucky in Australia with the wonderful medical facilities we have. We have one of the highest survival rates from breast cancer in the world.”

Arabic women have also attributed issues like poor English skills, embarrassment at having to expose their bodies and fear of the actual test for their reluctance at getting screened.

But Naomi Combe says breast-screening sites offer services to ensure the patients’ comfort.

“The actual breast x-ray is very short. It’s a matter of seconds, really. And all the way through at all points, women are made welcome, and we explain what’s going on. So, before women actually have the procedure, somebody explains to them how it works, how it happens. As we said, they can always have an interpreter with them — we provide interpreters free of charge. Or they can bring a female friend along, and then the procedure itself is very short. Once it’s over, women are told that they’ll receive their results within the next two weeks or so, and then, hopefully, for them, that’s it for another two years.”

As for Randa Kattan, she says she hopes, by sharing her story, she will help many other women live long enough to tell their own.

“I’ve gone through it, and I’ve got a story to tell. It is extremely valuable for other people to understand that cancer is not a death sentence. While none of us are leaving this Earth alive, we still can do something about it.”