Productivity and Labour Relations Minister Yvonne Henderson says Western Australia's youth can be assured of fair wages and skills training under the Labor Government.
Mrs Henderson today warned that under a future Liberal government, young people faced the threat of second-class wages with no training or skills development, and no compulsory arbitration to protect them.
"The Opposition want to consign our youth to menial jobs on poverty wages, offering them no skills and no future," Mrs Henderson said.
"Mr Hewson wants to axe the training levy and bring in a youth wage of only $3 an hour under 18 and $3.50 an hour from 18 to 21.
"National Party leader Hendy Cowan has pledged his support for this second-class wage and Liberal leader Mr Court has not distanced himself from that.
"Young people who now get fair award wages of $5.09 an hour under 17 years of age, and $10.19 at 20, would have their wages slashed under a Liberal government in WA."
Mrs Henderson said young people would also be at a distinct disadvantage in negotiating their own individual contracts, without the experience or confidence to match their employers.
She said they would be further disadvantaged by the Liberals' plan to do away with compulsory arbitration, so that disputes could be settled by an independent umpire only if the employer agreed to it.
"Young people, particularly in times of unemployment, are the least able to defend themselves against such treatment as unfair dismissal and not being paid the correct wage," Mrs Henderson said.
"When this happens under our system, the umpire can be called in and the dispute settled.
"Under the Liberals' industrial relations plans, young people would not have the safety net of awards or compulsory arbitration.
"They would have nowhere to turn.
"The Liberals would make young people work for dismal wages and leave them with no protection against unscrupulous employers."