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    Australian retailers plan to lobby for harmonisation

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    With Labour party coming to power in Australia, the Australian National Retailers Association (ANRA) plans to take advantage of this to lobby for harmonisation of state and federal regulations in areas such as payroll tax, food standards, occupational health and safety as well as trading hours.

    “Because we now have Labor governments in every state, it is an unprecedented opportunity to do something about harmonisation of state and federal legislation,” ANRA CEO Margy Osmand was quoted by Australian Financial Review.

    ANRA will also lobby the government to review recent amendments to the Trade Practices Act, including provisions against predatory pricing.

    “The Birdsville amendments were bad policy and have the potential to do the reverse of what was intended, potentially leading to higher prices for consumers,” she said.

    Some retailers are wary of Labor’s plans to roll back the coalition’s Work Choices legislation, with Rebel Sport MD Stephen Heath telling the newspaper he would be worried about any IR changes that would effect small business employment – “high employment has helped underpin retail spending”.

    Meanwhile, Richard Evans, Executive Director of the Australian Retailers Ass1aociation has reassured retailers that the election outcome will not have an adverse impact on Christmas trading.

    “Traditionally late year elections have a negative impact upon Christmas spending but I would expect that a resounding result in this year’s election will have a positive impact upon consumer spending.” Evans said in a statement. “During this election campaign we did not have a dip in demand.

    “Consumers remain confident and the cash registers are ringing loud and often.

    “Already we expect a 6.7% year on year increase in spending this Christmas and we anticipate consumers to remain confident and continue this growth trend. We have had no indication of uncertainty during this election as has been evident in the past.

    “While retailers remain concerned about impending changes to labour laws – as they are likely to add to the burden of operational costs, ultimately flowing to the consumer with price increases – this is some time off and will not impact current demand.

    “Retailers are the barometer of the economy and the ARA stands ready to work with the Rudd Government to ensure growth is sustained.

    “Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has indicated his desire to ensure working families are adequately cared for and we look forward to retailers maintaining their important place in this new paradigm,” Evans says.