ARA: Budget ignores retailers

ARA_shoe_shopThe 2010 Federal Budget has disregarded retailers’ role as the engine room of the economy, with only ‘old news’ initiatives announced for small business, according to peak retail industry body the Australian Retailers Association (ARA).

In a statement released this morning, ARA executive director Russell Zimmerman said retailers already overburdened with regulatory changes would be disappointed they had not been recognised in tonight’s budget announcement.

“The only headline small business initiatives in tonight’s budget are nothing but recycled news from the Henry Tax Review announcement last week.”

“The decision to expedite a cut in company tax rate from 30 to 28 percent for small business was announced last week and will mean little for retailers who will also be hit with increased superannuation payments for employees. The tax write-off for assets under $5000 was also part of the Henry Review and like reductions in company tax, will not come into effect until 1 July, 2012.”

“The only consolation for retailers and other small business owners is that further announcements regarding the Henry Tax Review may finally answer calls for payroll tax to be abolished, supported by almost 55 percent of retailers [according to the ARA Retail Industry Budget Snap Poll, February 2010]. So far, retailers’ calls for relief from payroll tax, which would have a direct and positive impact on jobs and product prices, have gone unheard.”

Retailers were battling with an overwhelming amount of regulatory change including the major operational challenge being the introductory of the new General Retail (Modern) Award in July 1, 2010 and the threat of inspections to follow from the Fair Work Ombudsman. Yet the Federal Budget’s focus on skills completely overlooks employer training to understand the Fair Work Act.”

“While small business will support the forecasts for surplus three years sooner than expected, we are also disappointed the Budget shows little evidence of reduced Government expenditure,” Zimmerman said.

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