It’s truly been a watershed month for our sector.
Last Wednesday, we brought our sector together for our inaugural ARA Gala – the first time we’ve gathered our diverse community together to celebrate the resilience of retail. It was an epic night and you can get a taste of the event in this video.
Our leaders were privileged to have an exclusive audience with Federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers last week, ahead of the Jobs and Skills Summit; providing important insights into the road ahead as we build towards the Federal budget on 25 October.
The ARA represented our sector at the Summit –and I also presented at the Thursday morning session on creating safe, fair and effective workplaces. You can access my full speech here.
It was wonderful to see the spirit of collaboration in the room – across government, industry and unions. This bodes well for the months ahead as we navigate the short and medium term challenges within the labour market. Key immediate outcomes include an increase to the number of hours pensioners can work before tax, an increase in skilled migration and an extension to the additional hours student visa holders can work until June next year. These supports amidst the tightest labour market in half a century are warmly welcomed, and are all areas we have strongly advocated for.
Longer term outcomes include discussions and reform of our industrial relations systems and workplace laws in Australia, including reviewing the BOOT test and simplifying the award system. Seeing these issues available for negotiation speaks to the Government’s commitment to engagement, given they were largely off the table six months ago. Our full ARA overview of what occurred across the two days is available here.
National Cabinet announced a shortening of the COVID isolation requirement to five days from 9 September for those with no symptoms – another important area of ARA advocacy.
It is very pleasing to have the retail sector prominently in the room for these conversations – we remain focused on keeping the profile for our sector high in this important year.