Advocacy and Policy

  • July 2018
  • 20-07-2018

    Representing Retail

    Stay up to date on our latest policy publications. Our policy team is working hard to shape debate for retailers.

View our latest government submissions

Load more

Mission Statements

Our mission statements outline the ARA’s key focus areas when advocating for our members.

A workplace relations system which is fair to both employers and employees, recognises that they share substantial common interests and seek to operate with a framework of fair and economically responsible standards and behaviours. Change the Fair Work Act where problems arise, as they become apparent and as the system evolves. The Fair Work Commission (FWC) needs to be empowered to effect change within the current Award structure. FWC must consider whether modern awards:

• Achieve the modern awards objective

• Are operating effectively, without anomalies or technical problems arising from the award modernisation process

• Allow greater flexibility in workplace arrangements

• Are taking into account cost pressures and flexibility needs for Australian retailers operating in a globally competitive environment

• Have an appeals jurisdiction.

We believe is a safe and productive workplace where staff and employers work together to achieve efficient, productive and healthy working environments.

Improve the embedding of employability skills in the school curriculum, encourage and if necessary incentivise the states to introduce minimum requirements for literacy and numeracy to standards required in the workplace, using international benchmarks.
The ARA supports a review of the efficiency and effectiveness of the vocational training system currently being conducted. However, although there are specific issues within each part of the education and training system (early childhood, schools, vocational training, and higher education), it is important that there is greater clarity of roles between the Commonwealth and the states across the system not just within each component, and pathways and recognition of quality outcomes should be improved between the sectors so as to achieve efficiency of public funding spend.

Advocacy on principles-based surcharging, where there is no surcharging allowed for low cost systems (eftpos and scheme debit) assuming that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will require acquiring banks to separate debit and credit and not allow blending of these rates by the acquiring banks.

• To ensure that there is no cross subsidisation, blended surcharging should not be permitted.

• Any regulation must apply equally to all payments systems, including American Express, Diners, Union Pay, JCB, PayPal, Apple Pay, Google etc.

• A threshold set at no greater than 1.5% of retail payment transactions market share before regulation is applied and regulation to capture new forms of payment systems under this model as they emerge.

It is important for both the RBA and Government to be able to quickly act on new technology and game changers in the payments sector with an appropriate mechanism set up allowing this process.

Retailers need a tax system that supports a balance of economic and social principles. Australia’s competitiveness should be assisted, not harmed, by the tax system.

Tax revenue should be adequate to meet all elected governments reasonable expenditure needs, consistent with the exercise of fiscal responsibility. The tax system should be such that all taxpayers feel confident and satisfied in complying with it.

Support for a root and branch review of the tax system to include the GST with a view to abolish inefficient taxes along with reducing the overall tax burden to business and the productive economy.

A sustainable tax structure will only be achieved through an integrated package of reform across all significant Commonwealth and State tax bases in the form of a balanced package covering consumption, income, assets and offshoring through low tax rates.

The dependency on securing tenancies within shopping centres poses a significant structural challenge for the ongoing viability of the retail sector. The nature of shopping centre ownership and a retail tenancy regime which is skewed in favour of these large-scale landlords both present an inherent disadvantage to Australian domestic bricks and mortar retailers in terms of equitable competition.

The ARA has agreed with the overall intent of Productivity Commission (PC) reports that all the current national Tenancy Working Group projects overseen by COAG must achieve a more equal framework for retailers negotiating leases; however this needs real Federal Government support to drive change. The ARA does recognise some State Governments have identified transparency of information and level playing field issues and commends those governments for taking action to rectify competition issues.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) should be the recommended body used to facilitate a national approach which will create a greater availability of retail space in retail activity areas driven by the Federal Government.

The ARA supports any move to create a greater competitive environment allowing retail development to be a positive outcome, and the ARA would like to see a mechanism facilitated by the Federal Government through COAG to achieve this outcome. The ARA will support moves which reduce unnecessary regulatory development costs.