Retail Voice CEO Message: 29 November 2023

Black Friday is now done and dusted for another year and by anecdotal accounts, it was a successful weekend for retailers.

And while the retail spending boost is welcome with ARA-Roy Morgan projections anticipating a $6.36 billion spend across the weekend – it’s important to note that this is likely a result of shoppers crossing off their Christmas gift lists early. We are expecting a more subdued December trading this year as a result.

We are also expecting cost-of-living pressures to continue impacting consumer spending, despite some good news earlier today that inflation has moderated from 5.6% in September, to 4.9% in October.

With this year characterised by intense workplace reforms, the ARA hosted its annual Employee Relations Breakfast in Melbourne last week, to explore pending changes to the industrial relations landscape, casual contracting, and payroll compliance.

With thanks to our expert guests Amanda Curatore (ARA Employment Relations), Duncan Stone (PaidRight), and Deborah Potts (Rest Super). You can view the photo gallery here.

This event preceded significant developments in Parliament on the Closing Loopholes Bill, which saw the Government propose 81 amendments without consultation earlier this week.

The ARA has continued to be strongly vocal about this flawed process and the fact these amendments also fail to address the fundamental flaws in the legislation. Our media release is here.

We maintain our position that there is significant downside without any positive impacts on productivity, wages growth or job creation.

While there have been some modest concessions, we remain particularly concerned about the proposed changes to definition of casual work, which will restrict the type of flexibility that employers need and employees want.

While the amendments have now passed the lower house, it is unlikely they can be voted on by the Senate until February 2024. In the interim, the ARA will continue to fight for better outcomes for retailers on industrial relations reforms.

Finally, a reminder that group and early bird discounts to the ARA Leaders Forum close midnight tomorrow. Don’t miss out – with Craig Foster AM joining our incredible speaker lineup this really is the agenda setting event to be at in 2024.

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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