Thursday 25 November 2021
Australia’s largest and most diverse retail peak body, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), has today welcomed the Federal and NSW Government’s latest moves to reopen the economy as Australians reach target vaccination levels.
ARA CEO Paul Zahra said the removal of most remaining restrictions within NSW on or before 15 December, coupled with the Federal Government’s plans to make it easier for skilled migrants to remain in Australia is welcome news as domestic and international borders reopen.
“NSW is one of the most vaccinated jurisdictions in the world and it’s a credit to everyone in the community who has got the jab that these greater freedoms are now on our doorstep,” Mr Zahra said.
“The removal of density limits will be an enormous relief to retail, hair and beauty and hospitality businesses in NSW who have struggled to remain profitable under current restrictions – in particular, small businesses who rely on a particular level of traffic in store.
“Christmas trading is critical for retailers – it’s a time when most discretionary stores make up to two thirds of their annual profits, so allowing business to throw the doors open fully at this time won’t be a day too soon.
“Vaccination checks have been in place since NSW exited lockdown on October 11 and they’ve served their purpose well in managing the safe reopening. With the vast bulk of the population now fully vaccinated, it makes sense to remove this impediment on customers and business, allowing them to trade at their full potential.”
Mr Zahra repeated the ARA’s calls for national alignment around Covid protocols as we enter the vaccinated economy.
“Confidence is key as we move forward in the vaccinated economy. We are keen to see all states align in their approach to reopening – particularly as the domestic and international borders are lifted. The reopening plans in NSW have proceeded very smoothly to date and our expectation is this will continue. It makes little sense for Australia’s two biggest states – NSW and Victoria – to be operating with two separate frameworks,” Mr Zahra said.
The ARA also welcomed the Federal Government announcement today that it will be easier for eligible skilled migrants to remain in Australia and for them to attain permanent residency.
“We are in the midst of an intense skills crisis within retail, hair and beauty and hospitality and this move along with a number of other skills initiatives will help address the shortfall created by the absence of foreign workers,” Mr Zahra said.