Thursday, August 18, 2022

ARA welcomes Anthony Albanese

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has congratulated Prime Minister-elect Anthony Albanese and the Australian Labor Party (ALP) on their victory in the federal election. It says it looks forward to working with the new government on advancing the retail recovery.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra says while the final make-up of the new parliament will take more time to determine, it’s clear Australians have voted for a change of government led by Mr Albanese, with climate change and gender equality determining factors for many people in how they voted.

“We congratulate Anthony Albanese and the ALP on their election victory and wish them well for the important job ahead. The ARA is looking forward to working with the new government to ensure our sector remains resilient amidst some intense pressures,” he says.

“We also acknowledge the strong performance of the Greens and many Independents who campaigned in the policy areas where most Australians what to see change, namely climate and gender equality. These challenges are strongly on the retail agenda, and we welcome the opportunity to engage on these issues.”

Addressing priorities

At the beginning of the campaign, the ARA highlighted five strategic priorities for the retail sector:

  • Labour and skills shortages
  • Supply chain resilience
  • Small business recovery
  • Inclusive and equitable workplaces
  • Sustainable businesses

Mr Zahra says retailers are looking for government leadership to advance social and economic outcomes in these priority areas.

“This election has occurred in the tightest labour market in more than 50 years and with a backdrop of surging inflation, so the new government inherits an economy that is not without its challenges,” he says.

“Business costs are increasing, while staff shortages and supply chain delays are continuing to bite. Disruption remains an ongoing concern for companies large and small with conflict abroad creating a ripple of cost pressures for retailers and their customers.

“Recovery remains elusive for many including CBD retailers and small businesses, who require a level of ongoing targeted government support.

“We are keen to advance collaboration with the new government around climate action. Retailers are already well underway in their plans to address challenges within key areas such as energy use, food and textile waste, supply chain transparency and the circular economy. We need deeper and stronger integration with government plans in all these areas.

“We will be reaching out to the new Prime Minister and his colleagues on how we can address these issues together.”

The ARA acknowledges Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg for their leadership over the past four years, in particular during the pandemic, and the economic support packages that were critical to keeping many businesses afloat.

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