The county’s largest and most diverse retail peak body, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has welcomed cost-of-living relief measures announced in today’s NSW Budget but called for more support for small business amidst a cost of doing business crisis.
ARA CEO Paul Zahra recognised the NSW Government’s measures to support those struggling to make ends meet and said that any measure to put more money in the pockets of NSW families is likely to flow into the retail economy.
“Cost-of-living is the biggest issue for all Australians and New South Wales is no exception, so it’s good to see the budget providing some relief, which will in turn stimulate the retail sector,” Mr Zahra said.
“Initiatives such as preschool fee relief, toll caps and energy rebates for consumers will all play a role in freeing up the household budget – alleviating financial pressures and hopefully driving more discretionary spending.”
While Mr Zahra acknowledged the 2023-24 Budget was focused on returning the state to a future surplus, he had hoped for more support for small businesses.
“Small businesses are under unprecedented pressure from rising costs and slowing revenues – and they desperately need some relief,” Mr Zahra added.
“We would like to see some relief in terms of energy costs, payroll tax and workers compensation, or alignment across state borders to reduce complexity for business,” said Mr Zahra.
The NSW government also made announcements in relation to the transition to net-zero emissions and building a more resilient supply chain – two key focus areas for the retail sector.
“The ARA is committed to an efficient shift to the low-carbon economy of the future, and so we welcome the governments’ announcements to reduce the costs and risk of the transition away from coal-fired generation to renewable energy sources.
“We also welcome announcements in relation to toll relief that will reduce costs for business, and investments in road infrastructure to keep the supply chain moving in greater Sydney and the regions, particularly after natural disasters,” said Mr Zahra.
The ARA looks forward to working with the Minns government and is encouraged by measures already implemented by the new government, including tougher penalties for people who assault retail workers.
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