Breaking News: SDA and ARA call on the Government to introduce a retail industry rescue package

Today, the SDA and the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) have called on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to urgently implement a multi-billion dollar Australian Retail Industry Relief Package to combat the impending impacts of COVID-19 on retail.

Currently, retail is the largest private employer in Australia – employing over 1.3 million people across more than 180,000 businesses – and creates over $325 billion dollars annually.

However, the ongoing and evolving impact of COVID-19 on Australia’s economy could spell catastrophe for this crucial industry and lead to major job losses and closures.

In just a matter of weeks, consumer confidence has plummeted across the clothing, footwear, household goods, personal accessories and café sectors – many of which were already facing challenging trading conditions.

To ensure the retail industry can continue to survive over the next six months, the SDA and ARA are calling on the Federal Government to take introduce the following measures:

  • A wage subsidy for retail workers to protect their income and their jobs;

  • A means tested underwriting of a line of credit for retailers, to ensure that they can continue to trade without being insolvent; and

  • A government guarantee of rental payments to landlords or the Federal Government facilitating with landlords on ways to reduce the rent with all savings used by employers to pay employee wages.

The SDA and the ARA are also urging the Government to establish an Australian Retail Industry Rescue Package Taskforce with the SDA, ARA, the Government and other stakeholders to implement the Australian Retail Industry Rescue Package and act as a clearing house for current issues facing the retail sector.

Day in and day out, retail workers across Australia provide a vital service to our communities and without them, many Australians would be unable to food on the table, clothes on their backs or furniture in their home.

Australia simply cannot afford to lose the retail industry in the midst of this global crisis and immediate action must be taken.

The Federal Government must take action to ensure both retailers and their employees can continue to pay the bills, mortgages and put food on the table while the COVID-19 crisis unfolds.

The SDA understands COVID-19 is causing a lot of distress and anxiety for many SDA members. If you have any questions about your job security, safety, rostering rights or customer abuse, you can call us on 8139 1000 or visit our webpage dedicated to COVID-19.