Last week’s budget revealed short term recovery solutions for retail, but a long road to economic recovery remains without measures to address workforce disruptions.
National Retail Association CEO Dominique Lamb is calling for greater investment for retail and small business through long-term resilience measures.
“We welcome the budget’s investment in skills and enhancing digital capabilities, but retail is left without a long-term agenda to address economic resilience in the sector,” Ms Lamb said.
“While the training and tax breaks will help strengthen business confidence and create jobs, the initiatives fall short of securing productivity improvements and economic resilience.
“Long-term strategies to skill the workforce and boost participation is needed for the sector to thrive in the new normal.”
With the cost of business increasing, retailers are without strategies to address growing pressures to meet labour and supply shortages.
“The budget failed to address the broader challenges of the economy by focusing heavily on short-term inflation relief,” Ms Lamb said.
“We would have also liked to see strategies implemented across business innovation and investment, supply chain capability and workforce productivity to ease the pressure for retailers and consumers.
“Long-term strategies that allow small business to level-up their capabilities and boost competitiveness will restore business and consumer confidence.”
While there is a focus on ‘bread for the masses’, there are a number of measures that will help to overcome some of the hurdles of doing business. There are also some clear signals of the perception that ‘big brother’ is watching, with businesses needing to give the Tax Office access to the underlying transaction data in their accounting systems.
Finally, there are a number of special interest measures including pledges of infrastructure spending, incentivisation of onshore manufacturing, and promotion of the Australian space industry the Government hopes will contribute to greater economic prosperity.
Nowhere in this budget are there economy-wide reforms of the type needed to see Australia prosper into the late 2020s and beyond. It is hoped that with the clear air that comes with the immediate post-election period, the next budget will think strategically about enabling a sustainable future.