The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has congratulated the NSW Government for its strong leadership on women, with significant investments to boost childcare and women’s workforce participation in this year’s State Budget.
The ARA has also welcomed the much-needed support for families to address the rising cost of living, with more than $7.2 billion in financial supports, much of which will naturally flow through the retail economy.
ARA CEO Paul Zahra says despite the ongoing economic challenges, with rising inflation impacting businesses and consumers, the Budget contains some positive initiatives that sets NSW up well for the years ahead.
“The economic fallout from the pandemic and the floods has taken its toll, with deficits forecast for the next two years, however the state is poised to bounce back well with economic growth of 4.25% predicted over the next financial year,” Mr Zahra said.
“We applaud the strong focus on women in this year’s Budget. As an employer of choice for women, retailers warmly welcome the initiatives to boost childcare, as well as supports for women in small business and other measures to boost women’s workforce participation.
“Governments across the country must do more to work with industry to help increase workforce participation and address gender inequality. With the measures announced today, NSW is clearly leading the way and the ARA looks forward to collaborating with government to support many of these targeted initiatives,” he said.
“With the rising cost of living impacting family budgets, we’re pleased to see over $7.2 billion in financial supports to help people make ends meet. A significant portion of this will naturally flow through to retail and help stimulate the economy.
“The main handbrake on retail recovery and growth is labour and skills shortages. We hope the additional investment to train 70,000 people will help alleviate the staffing issues many are facing, in particular in hairdressing and other areas of retail experiencing acute labour and skill shortages,” he said.
“Retailers are also looking to governments for greater leadership on climate action to help with their own sustainability initiatives. The NSW Government’s commitment of $1.2 billion to establish a Transmission Acceleration Facility will fast track the transition to renewables and to the low-carbon economy of the future. In the coming years, we would like to see deeper collaboration within sustainability initiatives between highly impacted industry areas such as retail, government and the innovation community and will continue our discussions with government on that front.
“Despite some intense challenges, the NSW Budget contains bold reforms and investments that sets NSW up for a bright future,” Mr Zahra concluded.