It’s been three months since I was given the privilege of becoming chair of your Association, and even though I had been a Board member for seven years there’s still been a lot to learn about the day-to-day workings of the NRA. The thing that has impressed me most in that time has been the exceptional capability and leadership of our staff.  This starts in the upper management of the association and extends to every person who is working on our behalf.

As members, we gain some insight into that capability when we need to access support from the NRA for our businesses – whether that’s advice on training hours, workplace relations, leasing, training, or one of the many other support services available to us.  As an example, after the Prime Minister declared the recent national holiday for the Queen’s memorial, the entire NRA leadership team moved very quickly to ensure that members had timely and accurate information about when stores could open from state to state – and in some cases within states – and what pay rates would apply.

However, the culture of leadership and excellence within the NRA goes far beyond providing high-quality services to members, even though that is of primary importance to an industry association. Across all areas of our organisation, the NRA is viewed as a trusted and respected adviser to governments at all levels and across the political spectrum.  Politicians and policymakers seek input and support from the NRA on issues as diverse and complex as crime and loss prevention, reducing single-use plastics, retail tenancy issues, training, education, and COVID recovery efforts.

The respect and influence our association has among decision-makers are due in no small part to the efforts of our various divisional managers – Legal, Industry Policy, Training, and many others.  As I said, I’ve been aware of their efforts through my long involvement with the Board, but the last three months have shown that the organisation truly is led by a very nimble, capable team that is dedicated to improving life for retail business owners.  I thank them for their efforts, especially at a time of transition for the association. Both as Chair and as an NRA member, I’m very proud of what they achieve every day.