Let me begin this week by saying that my thoughts are with all those in flood affected Dalby, Lismore and Mullumbimby. Barely four weeks after the last major rain event, I cannot imagine how exhausted and drained you must be to again be facing a deluge. If you require any assistance, please phone our team and we will do what we can – whether it’s assisting you with grants, connecting you with leasing advice, or just lending an ear. We hope you all stay safe and look out for one another.
Tonight will see the release of the Federal Budget, and what a crucial budget this will be. I am writing to you from Canberra, where I will be continuing to advocate for a Budget that will assist retailers with staff and skills shortages, and targeted support measures. As the second-largest workforce in the Australian economy, retail has more skin in the game than most industries when it comes to safeguarding jobs. From small family-run businesses through to nationwide chains, the retail sector provides employment opportunities to Australians of all age groups and demographics. The performance of our sector over the coming period will be instrumental in determining how successful an economic recovery Australia achieves.
The ABS report for February shows that after a turbulent start to the year, confidence is slowly growing. We did see falls in spending in certain states impacted by floods and the blockage of a critical rail supply chain. Despite this positive news, the rise of fuel prices means that the cost of living for Australians just got that much higher, and many belts will be tightened to ensure the family budget stays in the black. It is our view that the Federal Budget will need to address this inflation and ensure that targeted stimulus measures are in place to massage the economy and encourage spending.
We also welcome investment in apprenticeships and traineeships, with the government tipped to spend $365.3 million to support an extra 35,000 apprentices and trainees to get into jobs, which will help the retail industry get the skilled staff it needs.
Our full Budget breakdown will be released in the coming days as we unpack the budget documents.
Best of luck for the week ahead.
Chief Executive Officer