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Wednesday 29 March 2017: The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) proposes a 1.2 percent National Minimum Wage increase given the continuing economic uncertainty and fragility of the retail sector.

ARA Executive Director, Russell Zimmerman said Australian retailers are continuing to face a difficult operating environment and this increase is the best way to preserve employment within the retail sector.

“Given economic uncertainties, historically low inflation along with rising costs for retailers this 1.2 percent increase will minimise employment losses in the weak labour market,” Mr Zimmerman said.

The ARA has consulted their membership base, including large members and numerous small to medium Australian retailers in making their recommendation.

“The retail industry’s submission has outlined the difficult trading environment existing in the retail sector as a result of globalisation and advances in technology throughout the industry,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“With low to flat price growth and increased wages costs well above our international competitors, it’s critical that the Fair Work Commission take into account the weak economic trading conditions when making their decision,” Mr Zimmerman said.

The ARA’s position preserves the value of the minimum wage over the recent years where wages have been outstripped by increasing price growth throughout the industry.

“Our members have experienced significant cost pressures through international competition and reduced margins therefore we strongly recommend this wage increase remains realistic and reasonable for all businesses operating in the retail sector,” Mr Zimmerman said.

“We trust the FWC will ascertain the best approach for determining a federal minimum wage increase during this fluctuating period where large sectors of the economy are either in decline or receiving minimal growth.”


For interview opportunities with ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman call the ARA Media Line on 0439 612 556, or email

About the Australian Retailers Association:

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is the retail industry’s peak representative body representing Australia’s $310 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. The ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit or call 1300 368 041.



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