What Retailers Want


Last December the government called on the Productivity Commission to undertake an inquiry into the structure and performance of the Australian retail industry. The terms of reference included looking at the impact of globalisation, the digital economy, the exchange rate and structural change brought about by the resources boom — and tax issues, including imposing indirect taxes and duties on imported goods.

They have received more than 90 submissions from interested parties, including one from the Australian National Retailers Association, representing the country’s leading retailers. I talk to their CEO, Margy Osmond, about the 18 recommendations they have outlined:

  • the creation of a Minister for Retail
  • retailers should be able to open any time they choose (with a few exemptions)
  • retailers should be able to prepare stores during restricted trading days
  • the import threshold should be reduced to $100
  • customs duty should be removed now from all consumer goods (except clothing and vehicles)
  • duty on clothing and textiles should be phased out by 2015
  • the Commission should review all taxes by retailers and reduce them
  • removal of parallel importing
  • introduce measures to assist in direct sourcing arrangements
  • drive changes in planning to ensure retailers can locate stores where they are needed
  • the government should not re-introduce plans to change s.50 of the Australian Competition and Consumer Act
  • the government should review ACT Supermarket Competition Policy to see if it has delivered lower prices and enhanced competition in that state
  • all goods imported, including direct purchases, should meet local safety and labelling requirements
  • restraints in minimum award wage increases whilst the sector is experiencing soft growth
  • continued financial support for apprenticeships and traineeships
  • address urban congestion and regulatory regimes that are impacting logistics
  • minimise green tape facing Australian retailers
  • government should release the details of its carbon tax well in advance of the start date

First published on CBS News

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