Trevor Queen Street

Federal Parliament resumes next week, with the Government and Opposition both looking to finalise their pitches to voters ahead of the election due later this year.

To coincide with the resumption of Parliament, a delegation from the NRA will be in Canberra for meetings with the Prime Minister, Mr Turnbull, as well as a range of senior Ministers and advisers.

At the top of our agenda will be urging the Government to act on the recommendations of the Productivity Commission to set a more realistic level of weekend penalty rates. This is shaping as an election issue, and we want to ensure the Government moves this issue forward.

However, we also need to be political realists, and understand the simple mathematics that determines the ability of the Government to pass these measures through the Senate. So as well as lobbying at the political level, we must also continue to explain to politicians and the public just how much the current unsustainable level of Sunday wages affects business viability and hurts job creation.

We will also take the opportunity to ensure the Government is progressing its commitment to close the GST loophole for imported retail items. We want to make sure the promised changes are not swept up in the broader discussion of tax reform including changes to the GST, which could see them put off until after the election.

We are also very keen to express to the Prime Minister and the Government the NRA’s willingness to play a leading role in developing a meaningful workplace-level response to domestic violence. As an industry with a higher than average rate of participation by women, retail is well placed to offer local support in this area to team members who need it, and to assist with a broader education effort on how businesses should respond to issues.

I’ll report back to you next week on how our meetings go, and the feedback we receive from the Government.  We always welcome any members who wish to join us in our delegations to Canberra.  Please contact me to register your interest in future visits.

As consumers ourselves, I’m sure we’ve all welcomed the recent fall in the price of petrol. The NRA’s in-house research unit has done some economic modelling, and found that the lower fuel prices are likely to flow through to our industry over coming months, potentially putting as much as $3.2 billion into consumer’s pockets over the next six months.

This number is based on fuel remaining around the one-dollar-per-litre mark, compared to the national average price of $1.36 per litre from a year ago.  One-dollar fuel means an average of $350 back in the pockets of average households.

However, even if the average price creeps up again to $1.20, that would still equal almost $160 for each household and a total of $1.45 billion in extra money this financial year.  Either way, this represents good news for discretionary retailers.  You can read the full details in our media release.