Friday, 14 February 2020 14:26

Coronavirus impacts retail sector, NRA calls for government action Featured


Australia’s National Retail Association (NRA) has released a blueprint designed to tackle what it says are the “unprecedented challenges” confronting the retail sector and set Australian retail on course for recovery, and calling on federal and state governments to give immediate assistance to retailers feeling the effects on their businesses of the coronavirus outbreak.

The NRA’s comments come as it released a ‘Blueprint for Australian Retail Recovery’, describing the program as ambitious.

The NRA says the full impact from the outbreak of the Coronavirus is yet to be fully felt and it follows a summer of devastating drought and bushfires - as well as a number of established retail brands closing their doors in the last 12-18 months.

In the wake of the impact of the coronavirus on the retail sector, the NRA says it is now advocating to respective state and federal governments the following actions:

  • 12-month payroll tax ‘holiday’;
  • Annual Wage Review exemption for bushfire & Coronavirus affected communities;
  • Funding for financial education assistance;
  • Instant asset write-off; and
  • Safe Retail Precincts program extended to regional areas.

NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said that although there was no silver bullet, the measures outlined in the Blueprint for Retail Recovery would greatly assist in getting the sector off the canvas.

“Coronavirus and its impact on retail is just the latest challenge to face the sector, following a summer of devastating drought and bushfires, as well as a flat economy more generally,” Lamb said.

“The NRA is calling on all state governments to provide a temporary 12-month payroll tax ‘holiday’ to provide immediate financial relief to relevant businesses so that they can hire more staff and boost productivity.

“We’re advocating that businesses who have been directly impacted by the devastating bushfires and the outbreak of the Coronavirus be exempt from any changes emanating from the Annual Wage Review.

“The NRA is also urging the federal government to invest in a financial education assistance program to both engage and teach new small business owners on how navigate the financial challenges of running a business.

“The instant asset write-off has been an overwhelming success, however, it remains a year-by-year proposition in the Federal Budget. By elevating the scheme to a permanent status, the government would be providing greater certainty to SMEs to plan asset investments over the long term.

“The Safe Retail Precincts program, run by the NRA in conjunction with the Federal Government, has been highly successful in metropolitan areas in safeguarding shopping centres from threats such as crime and severe weather events. Extending the program to regional areas will assist in making a retail business in those communities more attractive, safer and affordable.”


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).



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