Retail Voice CEO Message: 7 June 2023

It’s been a challenging week for Australians and Australian retail with a perfect storm of undesirable economic challenges that will make the months ahead particularly difficult.
The Reserve Bank’s decision yesterday to again raise interest rates – hitting 4.1%, the highest in 11 years – will undoubtedly impact spending and the cost of doing business for many retailers in particular our smaller members.
While we understand the goal of taming inflation, the human impact of future rate rises must also be considered. The ARA continues to highlight the collateral damage of these consecutive interest rate rises on our members.
All eyes were on the Fair Work Commission last Friday, as it decided to increase the minimum wage and modern award rates of pay by 5.75% – in addition to the scheduled 0.5% increase in superannuation guarantee.
In our response, the ARA has highlighted the significant pressure this will place on struggling retailers, particularly small businesses.
I spoke to the Project to highlight the ARA’s concerns. You can watch that here.
We’re experiencing a cost-of-living crisis – so it’s important that wages continue to grow; but we’re also continuing to experience a cost-of-doing-business crisis so it’s a very delicate balancing act to keep business operating sustainably.
We know many retailers are under enormous financial pressure, with rising operating costs across the board. Supply chain costs have increased, utilities have increased, rent has increased, materials have increased and now labour will increase substantially.
While we must accept the FWC decision, the ARA has been clear about the need for a labour productivity improvement to mitigate against the impact of this very significant rise to avoid job losses in an otherwise challenging year.
We look forward to continuing discussions with the government around review of the General Retail Industry Award to deliver much-needed productivity gains.
A reminder that applications for the ARA Women Leaders in Retail CEW Scholarship close on June 18. You can read more about the scholarship and apply here.
And we are in the count-down to First Responders Day – don’t miss out on our pre-promotion of this important event. You can register 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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