Date: February 10, 2015
The Abbott Government has the opportunity to throw its support behind “Team Australia” by backing local jobs and local skills as it sets about framing its second Federal Budget, the National Retail Association said today.
In its pre-budget submission to the Treasury, the NRA has called on the Government to put Aussie jobs at the top of its lost if priorities, by choosing policy settings that will support local employment and skills.
NRA Chief Executive Trevor Evans said closing the GST loophole for on-line sales was the first priority, with independent research showing the existing laws were costing tens of thousands of Aussie jobs.
“We’ve heard a lot from the Federal Government about wanting people to get behind Team Australia, and retailers wholeheartedly support that notion,” Mr Evans said.
“Over many years we have urged Australians to buy from local stores rather than foreign-owned internet stores, on the basis that more local purchases will mean more Aussie jobs. But at the same time, we have been calling for governments to close the loophole that encourages shoppers to buy from overseas on-line stores, to the detriment of local businesses.
“Last year the Federal and State Governments put this in the too-hard basket. But if we are serious about protecting and growing Aussie jobs, it’s time to put this back on the table.”
The NRA submission also called for a clear commitment to skills and training, with current funding at least preserved in real terms and made available proportionately to all industries, rather than simply being targeted at those industries considered flavour of the month.
“It can be politically tempting for governments to direct skills funding at particular industries or occupations. The danger in this approach is that attempting to solve a perceived skills crisis in one area can inadvertently contribute to a shortage elsewhere.
“Retail is one of the nation’s largest employers, and is consistently the prime avenue for young people and first-time employees seeking to enter the workforce. It’s also where many Australians get their first leadership, supervisory and management experience.
“So retail needs a strong and sustained commitment to training and skills development, to ensure it is able to grow and generate new employment into the future.”
The NRA is Australia’s largest and most diverse retail industry organisation, and has been representing the interests of the retail, fast food and broader service sector for almost 100 years.
Media contact: SAS Media and Communications – 07 3171 2960 or 0467 792 013
The full submission is available at www.nra.net.au.