Retailers congratulate New South Wales Premier-elect Chris Minns

The nation’s peak retail industry group, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), has congratulated Chris Minns on his election victory and looks forward to working with the Australian Labor Party (ALP) to address the issues affecting retailers in New South Wales.

The ARA also thanks Dominic Perrottet for his solid leadership during the pandemic and for working closely with the retail community during a difficult time for the state’s economy.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra said collaboration and consultation will be vital as the industry continues to operate in uncertainty.

“The pandemic is over but retail remains in a permanent state of disruption – from the rising cost of doing business to labour shortages and ongoing supply chain challenges. We look forward to working with the NSW Government in addressing these challenges and continuing the revitalisation of Sydney’s CBD retail precincts,” Mr Zahra said.

“Reducing costs and complexity for business, and for small business in particular, must be an immediate focus for the incoming premier. Putting downward pressure on energy and supply chain costs, reducing payroll tax and driving leasing reform must be front of mind for the new government – not only to help the country get inflation under control but to also reduce red tape for businesses in NSW.

“We’re also looking to the new government to help address the critical skills and labour shortages that have crippled our sector for years. We need to refocus investment in vocational training, assist the long-term unemployed to take up work and remove barriers for women and older Australians to participate in the workforce.

“Embracing sustainability is also a top priority for the retail industry. Climate change will be the greatest disruptor the state and the business sector in coming years. We recognise the positive role that both sides of politics have played in protecting the environment in New South Wales but there is further work to do and resilience planning around climate change weather events will also be an important area of focus.

Mr Zahra reiterated his support for Labor’s pledge to implement tougher penalties for retail assault, as outlined last week.

“We welcome the ALP’s election commitment to draft legislation to deter people from assaulting retail staff, in line with the positive reforms in South Australia, and we trust this will happen as a matter of urgency, give the uptick in customer aggression impacting our members and their teams.”

“We have already had some encouraging conversations with members of the incoming ministry and welcome the opportunity to engage with the new Labor government on these and other areas which will greatly impact the economic performance of our sector and the state.

“And with the ALP now in power in all mainland states and territories, roadblocks to national consistency have been reduced, so we’d expect stronger alignment across state borders on everything from payroll tax reform, leasing reform to the phase-out of single-use plastics,” Mr Zahra said.

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