As mentioned in the last edition of NRR, the NRA has announced its finalists for the 2017 National Retail Awards.

As has been the case in previous years, yet again the entries we received in 2017 have been of a very high standard. The quality of nominations is a testament to the many innovative and hardworking members that we represent and advocate for on a daily basis.

We have finalists across an array of categories and the full list can be found here.

The gala dinner will be held on the evening of September 27 at the picturesque Daltone House in Sydney, overlooking the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It promises to be a sensational evening and you can purchase your tickets here.

From July 1 2018 Queensland will join South Australia, Tasmania the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory in implementing a ban on plastic bags. In addition, both Woolworths and Coles have announced that they will voluntarily ban plastic bags in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia where a ban is not in place.

It is important that in the states where the ban has not yet been implemented, that the industry prepares itself to ensure that the transition period is managed as smoothly as possible. In the second-half of 2017 the NRA will be holding workshops throughout QLD to assist retailers in preparing for the impending ban. These workshops will cover everything from what bags can and cannot be used, how to best manage the transition and how to inform customers of the changes.

For QLD retailers, further information on the ban and how to manage it can be found here.

Finally, a quick update on the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill 2017. Due to time restraints the Senate was unable to vote on the Bill, however, a raft of amendments have been put forward by Senators David Leyonhjelm and Cory Bernardi in an attempt to water down the legislation.

When the Senate next reconvenes we sincerely hope that Government, Opposition and Crossbench senators all vote on a Bill that strikes the correct balance between protecting workers, while not unfairly punishing franchisors for the actions of a very small number of franchisees. We will keep you updated on any developments relating to this issue.

Have a great week.

Dominique Lamb, CEO.