The National Retail Association tonight welcomed a range of measures in the Federal Budget that will prompt an instant spending spree and give businesses a much needed confidence boost.
NRA Chief Executive Trevor Evans predicted the instant write-off of business purchases up to $20,000 would spur an instant jump in spending, which would flow quickly through the retail sector and the wider economy.
Mr Evans also welcomed the previously-announced tax cuts for small businesses, and the Treasurer’s decision to remove Fringe Benefits Tax from portable electronic devices used in employment.
And he said the $300 million in funding for drought-stricken regional communities would flow through the tills of retailers in those areas, enabling them to support local producers and employ local people.
“It’s great to see small business front and centre of a Budget,” Mr Evans said.
“This Budget hits almost all the right notes in terms of boosting consumer and business confidence. This was always going to be the critical test of the Abbott Government’s second Budget.
“Retail is one of the largest employers in the Australian economy, and the measures announced tonight will give retail business owners greater confidence to hire additional workers and to generate prosperity in the economy.”
Mr Evans also welcomed the moves to impose the GST on digital products such as music and movies sold into Australia from overseas.
But he said there was no reason the arguments applied to digital content providers should not also apply to overseas-based retailers of tangible goods.
“The Treasurer is right when he says it is unfair that overseas based businesses selling services into Australia may not charge GST when local businesses have to charge GST.
“He is right when he says a local business that employs Australians, pays rent in Australia, pays tax in Australia, and helps build our economy is disadvantaged by the current system.
“And he is right to level the playing field by requiring foreign businesses supplying digital products and services to Australians to pay the GST.
“However, all these arguments also apply to overseas businesses that import goods worth up to $1000 into Australia. The changes announced tonight do not assist the local retailers who pay rent, pay tax, employ locals and meet all the criteria outlined by the Treasurer tonight.
“These reforms have reduced the size of the GST loophole, but only marginally. We call on the Government to create the same level playing field for all Australian businesses and their employees.”
The National Retail Association is Australia’s largest and most representative retail industry body, representing large and small businesses in all facets of the retail sector.
NRA CEO Trevor Evans is available for interviews.
Contact the NRA’s media team on 07 3240 0163 or 0467 792 013