Retail Voice CEO Message: 24 August 2022

The Federal Government’s Jobs and Skills Summit is fast approaching, and pleasingly the ARA will have a seat at the table, representing the interests of our members and our $400 billion industry. We’ve met with several ministers in recent weeks to outline our priorities and I’m looking forward to presenting them in-person in Canberra.

The Government has released an Issues Paper in advance of the summit, which will cover some broad themes including growing productivity, delivering a high-quality labour force through skills, training and migration and lifting participation and reducing barriers to employment. The ARA will be making a formal submission with our key recommendations, which we’ll share with you soon.

The ARA has marked National Skills Week by announcing a new partnership with The Careers Department (TCD) aimed at highlighting the benefits of working retail to school leavers. TCD conduct a national schools tour that reaches at least 40,000 students and the focus will be on the exciting and diverse career paths retail can provide, and in particular roles that go beyond the shop floor.

Retail sales continue to strengthen with the July figures from Mastercard’s SpendingPulse showing sales up 17.9% compared to 12 months earlier. The figures should be treated with some caution, as we’re starting to lap the 2021 Delta lockdowns when businesses in NSW and Victoria were severely restricted. The current retail trade environment is very different to a year ago and businesses are dealing with a whole new set of challenges due to inflation and rising costs associated with fuel, energy, supply chains and rent.

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