Readers with long memories (who are kind enough to keep reading) might remember that three years ago, just before the last federal election, I wrote, “let’s hope the new Prime Minister manages to survive the full three years’’.
Here we are again in 2019, and after yet another leadership spill last year, I’m hoping the exact same thing for the sake of businesses, their workers and the retail industry.
Many people, especially the young, rely on the retail industry to get their foot on the jobs ladder. Whether Australia ends up with a Coalition or Labor government, the retail industry has a number of priorities we intend to take up with the new government on their behalf.
Training, especially a focus on increasing traineeships, is just one of these priorities. With modern-day technologies constantly advancing and changing, the government’s investment in training is a must if we want to continue to provide young workers improved entry-level opportunities. Retailers need to keep up to speed with these technologies by being trained and re-trained appropriately.
Secondly, government regulation is a huge burden for small businesses. Whether it’s product labelling or plastic bags, small businesses simply don’t have the resources available to comply with every government regulation. Reducing this burden is easy – make the laws as simple as possible.
And finally, our industry needs clarity around the workplace relations environment. In 2017, we at the National Retail Association supported the Fair Work Commission’s Sunday penalty rates ruling. We still stand by this ruling as we believe the right balance between fairness and affordability was struck. Labor’s pledge to reverse the Commission’s ruling is a great concern for retail.
So, when the 46th Parliament gets under way after May 18, I again hope the elected Prime Minister can serve their full term to give continuity to government policy and allow our members and their workforces to strive and thrive.