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Minimum Wage – Maximum Debt

Media Release

for immediate release - Friday, June 27, 2003

attn: Education & Political Reporters

Minimum Wage – Maximum Debt

OPSA welcomes yesterday’s passing of the Minimum Wage Amendment Bill, trainees attending recognized industry training such as hairdressing will now be entitled to the minimum youth wage. Trainee hairdressers will now earn the minimum wage rate of $6.80 per hour regardless of their age.

“This is a move in the right direction, however more work needs to be done to ensure that the adult minimum wage is paid to Adults studying for national qualifications,” said Michelle Watt, OPSA President

CTU Statistics have shown that 92% of the 81,343 Industry trainees last year were 20 or over.

“Hairdressing training can be very expensive and fees range from $5,000 to $12,000. Add onto that living costs and many hairdressing apprentices will have a yearly student debt of up to $18,000 - With hairdressers’ traditional low wages, most will take many years to pay this debt” said Ms Watt

“This is a major flaw in the loans scheme, Hairdressers and other traditionally low paid workers are paying a lot more for their education, because of crippling interest.” Said Ms Watt, continuing, “The obvious solution is zero interest on student loans”

Further Information: Michelle Watt (03) 477-6974 OPSA President 021-1121-789

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