Australia’s peak retail body, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), has welcomed a suite of cost-of-living relief measures in the 2023-24 South Australia Budget, with the $6.5 million Small Business Strategy also serving as a welcome – but modest – foundation for struggling businesses.
The ARA welcomed measures such as the announced $254.4 million energy bill relief program, increase to concessions and increase to carer payments, which will provide much-needed economic stimulation.
ARA CEO Paul Zahra said cost-of-living was at the forefront of people’s minds, and while the $6.5 million Small Business Strategy is welcome in principle – it likely requires more funding to make any significant difference.
“Cost-of-living is the biggest issue for all Australians – and South Australians are no exception; so, it’s great to see the budget providing much-needed relief,” he said.
“We’re also pleased that approximately 86,000 small businesses will be eligible to share in rebates as part of the government’s Energy Bill Relief plan.
“Energy costs are one of the biggest expenses for South Australian retailers so any measure that reduces these costs for small business is good for business.
“The implementation of a Small Business Strategy is an important measure, but with approximately 143,000 small businesses trading in South Australia we would ideally like to see this $6.5 million package expanded.
“With rising rent, utilities, labour, supply chain costs and materials – we’re looking at one of the most challenging years for small business in recent memory.”
The ARA also welcomed the South Australian government’s leadership and additional investment in law enforcement to support the country-first legislation to provide greater protections to retail workers against anti-social behaviour and attacks – something the ARA has strongly advocated for.