Retail Voice CEO Message: 17 May 2023

With Mother’s Day being a busy shopping period for many retailers, we hope that your trading was a success.

It continues to be a year of significant legislative change, and the ARA policy and advocacy team has been focused on making sure the concerns of our members are heard on a range of topics. This week the ARA continued to engage with government on workplace relations reforms for the second tranche of industrial relations changes.  We also represented the sector at two important public hearings.

The first was before the Fair Work Commission’s Expert Panel on the minimum wage, where we continued to advocate for a balanced but sustainable wage increase of no more than 3.5%. More on our position here.

We also appeared at the Federal Government’s Joint Standing Committee on Migration, where the ARA highlighted the importance of overseas workers to the retail community and the broader economic and community interests. You can find more in our submission here.

All of this advocacy work follows many rounds of deep consultation with our ARA members and we thank those of you who participated in those consultations.

This year is so important for action around reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and we are pleased to put the spotlight on this important challenge at our annual ARA CEO Lunch tomorrow in Sydney. We will hear from two of the most experienced specialists in our sector – First Nations thought leader and business specialist and consultant, Jason Timor and Sally Fielke, General Manager Corporate & Indigenous Affairs, Coles.

If you are attending, I look forward to seeing you there. If not, we’ll be sure to share updates post-event.

Retail crime is an enormous challenge for our community and we are concerned to hear the sad news yesterday out of Melbourne about a David Jones staff member being stabbed by an alleged shoplifter. This kind of incident is of course devastating for the individual concerned and their loved ones, but also for the teams they work alongside.
There is no doubt we’re seeing an increase in theft and violence towards workers across the country and this is a strong concern for other frontline workers and has a significant impact on the financial health of businesses.

Guided by input from our ARA Retail Crime Committee, we are in close conversation with State and Federal Governments about measures to address this deeply concerning rise in retail crime and assaults.

The ARA has, and will continue to, urge state and territory governments across the country to implement tougher penalties for people who assault retail workers – to stamp out this behaviour. You can read about that here.

Our thoughts are with the staff member who was subjected to this abhorrent attack, their friends and family and we wish for a speedy recovery. You can access some of our free resources to support retailers around retail crime here.

The ARA is gearing up to celebrate First Responders Day on June 29.

This Australian Retailers Association initiative, sponsored by American Express, is our way of giving back to members of the community who have supported Australians through too many recent disasters, and protected lives in times of crisis.

First Responders Day is an online and in-store event that fosters closer connections between first responders and the retail industry. By extending a heartfelt “thank you” to these heroes, we acknowledge their essential role in safeguarding our society.

If your company or business would like to be involved this year, click here.

As always, our membership team is here to help if you need any assistance, so don’t hesitate to reach out via email or on 1300 368 041.


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