From the Executive Director, June 2016

Russell Zimmeman_HiRes_2016-02 The last month has seen a number of developments politically of which retailers should take note. The first, which most would already be aware of, is the coming increase in minimum wage, effective from next Friday (July 1). The ARA is reminding member to ensure that all payrolls have been updated to account for this increase, payable for the first full pay period after July 1.

The second major development for retailers is the passing of new laws which see the ban of excessive credit card surcharging.  Large retailers will need to abide by these rules from September 1, with all other retailers to come on board from September 1, 2017.

Excessive surcharging, as defined by the government, refers to charging consumers more than the transaction-processing cost to the merchant. The ARA actively advocates for the reduction of excessive surcharging, and is now calling on the RBA to lower costs of all card schemes through the regulation of high-cost payment systems such as Amex and Diner’s Club.

This week I attended lock up for the announcement of the NSW State Budget. Several key initiatives have special relevance to retailers. Small retail businesses will be able to take advantage of the Small Business Incentive Scheme, which provides business of 50 staff or less with rebates of up to $6000 on payroll tax.

The NSW Small Business Connect Program will also assist small businesses with a grant of up to $2000 or new employees from July 1.

The NSW Government should also be commended for its investment in infrastructure, and an anticipated budget surplus of $2 billion over the next four years.

Of course, key on everyone’s agenda at this time of year is End of Financial Year, which this year, is swiftly followed by the Federal Election. The ARA is hopeful for a swift and positive result when Australians visit the polls on July 2, and will continue to work with the chosen Government to champion the best interests of Australian retailers, large and small. Keep an eye out for the ARA’s Election Perspective email, detailing the policies of each party and their relevance to retail.

Russell Zimmerman
ARA Executive Director



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