The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) and Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA) have each released February 21 statements urging the government to improve trading conditions for local retailers in Australia.

Trading hours restrictions need to be addressed

ANRA has issued a release welcoming the federal government’s decision to review trading hour restrictions as part of the upcoming Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) agenda.

Current restrictions and legislation related to trading hours for retailing in Australia is hampering the success of local businesses, according to ANRA Chief Executive Officer Margy Osmond.

“From a national perspective ANRA seeks a degree of alignment in retail trading hours across all states and territories, so that trading hours are unrestricted in all parts of the country with exceptions of Christmas Day, Good Friday and the morning of ANZAC Day,” she explained.

Ms Osmond believes that lifting trading hours restrictions across the country would benefit employees, consumers, business owners and the economy.

She urges the federal and state governments to carefully consider the affects this legislation is having on retailers in Australia.

A priority on taxation equality

ARA claims Australia is losing almost $1 billion in GST revenue due to the Low Value Threshold (LVT) GST rate giving international business an unfair tax advantage.

The Shopping Centre Council of Australia’s (SCCA) recently released a statement explaining their belief that the LVT operates as a ‘reverse tariff’ by raising the prices of local goods and lowering the prices of imported goods. This is an opinion with which ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman is in complete agreement.

“The ARA supports SCCA’s view that this makes no economic sense – particularly when it means less money is available for hospitals, schools and other community services,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Mr Zimmerman believes that thousands of jobs could be at risk if reducing the LVT is not made a priority. Additionally, the benefits of lowering the LVT could reach $997 million injected into the Australian economy by 2014-15.

“The opportunity is there for the government to restore a level playing field – the government must stop what is active discrimination against Australian retailers who are being taxed in areas their overseas counterparts are allowed to avoid,” Mr Zimmerman urged.