Executive director wrap, March 2016

Russell Zimmerman, ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman, ARA Executive Director

Happy Easter from myself and the Australian Retailers Association, I trust our retailer members all had a profitable Easter break.

The last couple of weeks have seen the ARA engaging in a number of behind the scenes issues policy-wise that will continue to play out over the coming months, chief among these, the issue of a reduction in penalty rates.

The ARA continues to heavily engage with Government on important issues to the sector, with the ARA’s Policy and Government Affairs Director, Heath Michael, having met with Federal Treasurer, Scott Morrison, and Assistant Treasurer, Kelly O’Dwyer, earlier this month on tax and a range of other issues effecting the sector. The ARA is strongly recommending a reduction in key tax rates as part of any shift in the tax base to increase efficiency.

Something retailers may not yet be aware of yet, is the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) launch of new generation notes, to rollout over the next five years. The change is being made in an effort to crack down on increased bank note fraud in recent years.

The $5 note will be the first new generation banknote to be rolled out, with its launch date set for September 1, 2016. We expect the design of the new $5 note to be available to the public in mid-April. It is understood the new note will use the same colours and people, with the addition of a Braille-recognised feature.

Retailers who transact in cash will need to ensure that any self checkouts, counting machines, note weighing machines and other cash-related technology has been recalibrated before September 1 to be able to accept both current $5 notes and the new generation notes.

More information on the new notes, their look and feel, and procedures to coincide with the release of the new notes will be distributed by the ARA as it comes to hand, however, retailers should ensure that all staff are prepared for the change over as more details are released in the coming months.

Lastly, you may have noticed today’s new look Retail Voice. The new format newsletter is one component of the ARA’s new brand – a move that marks the completion of an internal restructure of the business which puts the Association in the best position to continue to evolve and innovate at the same rapid pace as the retail industry we serve.

The new look for the Association encompasses a new website, the new format Retail Voice newsletter, as well as a completely fresh take on the ARA logo itself. Members and visitors to the new website, and readers of the Retail Voice will find the new design of both much quicker and easier to navigate and zero in on the information required.

I hope you enjoy our new look, and we look forward to serving your retail business long into the future.


Russell Zimmerman

ARA Executive Director



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