NSW Budget Missed Opportunity For Cost-of-living Relief

Australia’s peak retail body, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), has welcomed a number of measures in the New South Wales State Budget but highlighted the lack of support for small businesses and families doing it tough.

Major announcements of interest to the retail sector include:

  • Future Women Jobs Academy program, to increase women’s workforce participation
  • Extension of subsidised apprenticeships and traineeships.
  • Significant investment to build, upgrade and repair roads, to improve supply chain efficiencies and resilience.
  • Additional support for the Office of the 24-Hour Commissioner to focus on regulatory reform and other initiatives to support growth of the night-time economy.
  • Funding to support the transition to the digital economy and improve cyber security.

ARA Chief Industry Affairs Officer Fleur Brown said the supply chain and training measures announced in the budget are much needed. However, with Australians facing one of their toughest years financially, the sector was hoping for more solutions to ease pressures on struggling households and businesses.

“While we applaud some of the worthy and visionary measures, in this prolonged cost-of-living crunch, retailers were hoping for much-needed temporary relief for households – which could also flow through to the retail sector.”After years of pressure, retail and hospitality businesses continue to navigate the impacts of rising costs and reduced spending.

“It’s disappointing there is no immediate relief in this budget to help offset the higher costs of doing business – such as changes to payroll tax or energy rebate incentives to complement the rebates announced by the Federal Government,” said Ms Brown.

The ARA welcomed measures that will positively impact the sector over time.

“Retail is a strongly feminised sector. We welcome the investment in traineeships and apprenticeships, as well as the launch of a Future Women Jobs Academy program which will help address critical labour and skills shortages. We also applaud measures to provide greater support for victim-survivors of family and domestic violence,” said Ms Brown.

“Supply chain challenges have impacted our sector in recent years – from weather events to global constraints – so we particularly welcome the $3.3 billion investment to rebuild road and transport infrastructure damaged by natural disasters, to improve supply chain efficiencies and resilience,” she said.

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