The CEO of the Australian Retailers Association, Paul Zahra, today welcomed the Prime Minister’s extension of the JobKeeper program, which will provide much needed relief for struggling retailers as they approach the most critical trading period of the year.
Mr Zahra said the revamped program addresses the main concerns raised by the ARA in recent months.
“The October to December quarter is a make or break period for many retailers particularly this year as it includes the all important Christmas trading period and the start of the Boxing Day sales. Whilst at a reduced rate, JobKeeper’s extension will ensure that jobs in the retail sector, many of which are held by women and young people, will be preserved through a period that is vital for retailers’ recovery,” Mr Zahra said.
“JobKeeper, JobSeeker and other support measures have successfully provided an important boost to our economy. This extension of the program, tailored to those in highest need, will support the recovery of the retail sector – which is crucial to our wider economic recovery.
“We are also pleased to see payments more closely aligned with working hours of staff, with a lower payment for employees working less than 20 hours per week which addresses retailers’ concerns about fostering greater workplace cooperation with casuals and part-time staff.”
“Though we had hoped to be further on the road to recovery at this time, the spike of infections in Victoria and NSW clearly shows us we aren’t out of the woods. Today’s news eases the pressure on many retailers doing it tough and helps them to plan the next six months.
“Pockets of retail will take longer to recover, particularly discretionary retailers or for stores in the CBD and popular tourist locations. These retailers depend on higher foot traffic which we are unlikely to see for quite some time.
“Ultimately the future outlook for retail is positive, but it will be a challenging and bumpy road to recovery for many,” Mr Zahra concluded.
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About us: founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association is Australia’s largest retail association, representing a $325bn sector employing more than 1.3m people. As Australia’s premier retail body, the ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 7,500 independent and national retail members. To learn more, visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.