State of the Retail Nation Graeme Watson

Former Vice President of the Fair Work Commission, the Hon. Graeme Watson, will headline the NRA’s new forum series, State of the Retail Nation, this month – speaking candidly about his recent resignation after more than a decade presiding over industrial relations issues in aviation, ports, maritime, oil, gas, hospitality, and of course, retail.

The former partner of Freehills, where he advised many large corporates including Rio Tinto, Shell, BHP, Commonwealth Bank and McDonalds, stood down from his position with the Fair Work Commission in January, highlighting major issues he has identified within the workplace relations system, and how he believes it is undermining Fair Work Act objectives of promoting national economic prosperity and social inclusion.State of the Retail Nation Graeme Watson

NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said the forums, to be held in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and via webinar, would each include a lengthy Q&A session with Mr Watson which would allow retailers to explore current issues, including recent changes to penalty rates.

“We are thrilled for our retailers to have the opportunity to share their experiences with Mr Watson; to discuss how the Australian labour market has changed over the past 25 years; and find out where he believes it’s going over the coming 25 years,” Ms Lamb said.

“We know there is an indisputable link between the cost of wages and a business’s ability to hire more workers, but the modern award system has failed to keep step with the modern retail and lifestyle landscape, and this has left employers in the retail space to feel the impact of penalty rates more acutely than those in many other sectors,” she said.

Ms Lamb and Mr Watson will be joined by the NRA’s Director of Legal and Principal Lawyer, Troy Wild, who will discuss legal updates to the current retail environment.

“These forums will give retailers the unique opportunity to share their concerns with each other and to explore alternative avenues of innovation and adaptation in the modern marketplace,” she said.

State of the Retail Nation breakfast forums will kick off in Melbourne on March 27, followed by Brisbane and via webinar on March 28, and concluding with Sydney on March 29. The forums are FREE for NRA members and include breakfast.

Register now as places are limited.