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ARA Report: Penalty reductions; illicit trade to be tackled

RUSSELL ZIMMERMAN offers retailers a snapshot of the latest issues facing the industry, and explains why the ARA is looking towards a positive future for retail.

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is looking forward to seeing further growth for small businesses and increased employment within the industry as the second stage of the penalty rate reduction takes shape.

Last year’s decision to reduce Sunday penalty rates under the General Retail Industry Award 2010 (GRIA) from double-time (200%) to time-and-a-half (150%) was an incredible outcome for Australian retailers as it will provide long-term benefits for employers and employees in the industry.

Sunday penalties will now be reduced to 180 per cent for permanent staff and 185 per cent for casual employees, alleviating some of the constant cost pressures retailers face today.

With Labor’s recent moves to block the penalty rates reduction, the ARA is concerned that some people have misunderstood the recent changes to penalty rates – or worse, are being misinformed.

"The ARA is concerned that some people have misunderstood the recent changes to penalty rates – or worse, are being misinformed."

Sunday penalty rates have not been abolished, nor will they be. We have simply reduced the rate from 200 per cent to 150 per cent as these excessive penalty rates were deterring employers from giving their staff Sunday shifts, and forcing some retailers to close their doors.

As the decision was made by the Fair Work Commission (FWC) and an independent umpire established by the Labor Party, and then upheld by the Federal Court, the ARA trusts all sides of politics will support this revolutionary decision for the industry.

Tackling illicit trade

With up to 15 per cent of global GDP lost each year to illicit trade, the ARA believes more needs to be done to combat such a phenomenal loss.

According to the World Economic Forum, US$2.2 trillion worth of global GDP is lost per year due to organised crime and corruption.

To tackle this serious issue, the ARA has been working with various government organisations and associations forming the Australians to Stop Counterfeiting and Piracy (AUSCAP) industry group to stem the illegal trade in consumer goods.

More recently, the ARA and AUSCAP have been working closely to develop the Global Illicit Trade Environment Index, which evaluated 84 nations around the world and their efforts in combating this global economic scourge and plans to do better.

Although Australia received the highest score in the Asia-Pacific region, there is much to be done to build a better environment and prevent illicit trade.

After all, an Australia that is strong against illicit trade that supports its region to be the same is a safer and more prosperous Australia for all.

Overseas orders and the GST

The ARA believes the low value import threshold (LVIT) GST that has recently come into effect will create a fairer tax system and put local retailers on a level playing field.

We’re hoping this tax fairness will give a much-needed boost to the industry and we will continue to work with the Government to ensure a 100 per cent collection rate.

The ARA worked closely with the ATO in the lead-up to the implementation of the LVIT GST, and hopes to continue this relationship to ensure the best possible outcome for the local retail industry, including proposing additional collection models to improve compliance.

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is the largest association representing the country’s $310 billion retail sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. Providing expert advice across multiple disciplines including leasing and wage rates, the ARA’s mission is to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for members.



Russell Zimmerman

Russell Zimmerman is the executive director of the Australian Retailers Association (ARA). Email: info@retail.org.au

Ellendale Diamonds Australia

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