PEAK retail industry body the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) congratulates NSW Minister for Small Business and Primary Industries Katrina Hodgkinson after she today released the Discussion Paper on the Review of the Retail Leases Act 1994.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said the ARA has been working alongside the NSW Government to get the review underway for some time now, and is pleased the NSW Government will now undertake a period of public consultation to ensure the most up-to-date feedback is gathered.

Recommendations will then be made to Cabinet, including proposed legislative amendments to the Act.

“The Retail Leases Act 1994 was put in place to regulate the relationship between tenants and landlords by setting minimum standards for leasing retail space. Some of the key areas to be considered in the review include potential misuse of market power, negotiation of leases and issues relating to full disclosure of the terms and conditions of a lease, and introduction of a standard retail lease.

“The review is critical to the retail sector in NSW and a crucial step forward to ensuring more transparency and fairness in the lease negotiation process - which the ARA has been advocating for in order to level the power relationship between landlord and retailer.

“In 2008 the previous government released a retail leases discussion paper to review the Act but never followed through with the review. The ARA thanks Minister Hodgkinson and the NSW Government for their support on this issue,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Since 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has been the peak industry body representing Australia’s $258 billion retail sector, which employs over 1.2 million people.

The ARA ensures retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 5,000 independent and national retail members throughout Australia.

Visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

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Representatives of more than 2 million independent retailers have joined Senator Nick Xenophon in his call for a moratorium on fuel dockets being offered by the major supermarket chains.

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has pledged its support for this action to be taken urgently by the Abbott Government.

Russell Zimmerman, spokesperson for the informal coalition of small business groups and Executive Director of the ARA said "Australia's small businesses are hopeful that the ACCC's investigation into the behaviour of the chains will prove once and for all that they continually abuse their market power – the fuel dockets scandal is the most obvious example.

“We are becoming increasingly concerned by the ongoing delay – the ACCC has taken months to decide to take action against the chains and while they delay, our retailers are suffering at the unfair tactics of the chains.

"Immediate action is required to give the independent retailers of Australia the opportunity to compete on a level playing field. Without a moratorium on fuel dockets, many businesses may have no choice but to close for good.

"We are at an impasse. The cross subsidisation of the chains continues to impact small businesses on a daily basis. The major supermarket chains claim to be doing nothing wrong and acting in the best interests of the consumer.

"As if the cross subsidisation of fuel was not bad enough, recent offers by the chains are also promoting cross subsidisation of liquor" added Mr Zimmerman.

"Our only hope is that a moratorium on fuel dockets might level the playing field again so we have a fair chance to compete on product and price, at least until such time as the result of the ACCC's investigation is announced,” Mr Zimmerman said.

About the Independent Retailers of Australia – a coalition of retail bodies representing over two million small businesses and five million employees. It is a united voice for independent businesses who want action taken to enforce Australian competition laws; opposed to deep discount fuel dockets and the market dominance of the chains at the expense of a competitively diverse retail sector and ultimately consumer choice.

www.retail.org.au

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RETAIL industry alliance the Australian Traders Group (ATG) members lead by the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) have met with senior State and Federal Government Treasurers over recent weeks on the low value overseas GST collection issue.

Spokesperson for the group and Australian Retailers Association (ARA) Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said the ATG has been in discussions with government and opposition MPs, emphasizing the urgent need for collection on LVIT.

ARA members have directly raised the issue of overseas GST collection with the Prime Minister in discussions over recent weeks.

“We are also in discussions with state government treasurers, officers and federal government ministers to get this issue finally resolved.

“The ATG industry groups fully support NSW Treasurer Mike Baird in his call for the LVIT issue to be fixed as soon as possible. Mr Baird has been pushing for reform on the low-value threshold on GST for online overseas purchases for a long time, and we are pleased to see that online shopping purchases worth less than $1000 will finally be on the agenda when Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey meets his state and territory counterparts this week.

“It is now up to the states and territories to make a case for changes to the goods and services tax (GST). The ARA and ATG members see Australian based online and traditional stores disadvantaged with the current arrangements and with various low cost collection methods on the table, there should be little standing in the way of collection of the tax through a number of methods.

“We want to level the playing field for online Australian retailers who have to charge GST while their overseas competitors do not. If a reduction to $20 in the threshold from the current $1000 collection rate was implemented, around $1 billion GST could be collected in the 2014-15 financial year, according to last year’s LVIT Taskforce report,” Mr Zimmerman said.

The Australian Traders Group (ATG) comprises the following industry bodies: Australian Retailers Association, Australian Booksellers Association, Bicycle Industries Australia, Photo Marketing Association, Australian Music Association, Photo Imaging Council of Australia, Retail Cycle Traders Australia (Inc), Australian Toy Association, Australian Sporting Goods Association, Franchise Council of Australia and Snowsports Industries of Australia.

Since 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has been the peak industry body representing Australia’s $258 billion retail sector, which employs over 1.2 million people. The ARA ensures retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 5,000 independent and national retail members throughout Australia.

Visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.

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Australia’s largest resort operator, Mantra Group, has been appointed to manage apartment letting at the iconic Soul development in Surfers Paradise.

Mantra Group will manage the property as Soul Surfers Paradise to capitalise on the market presence the Soul name enjoys. The change in management will take place in early November. 

Mantra Group is the most experienced operator of integrated and mixed use properties in Australia. Their appointment and the strategic branding approach will ensure investors not only benefit from the continued market presence of the Soul brand but also the powerful distribution platforms that Mantra Group employs.

Bob East, Mantra Group CEO said he looked forward to taking Soul Surfers Paradise to an even greater level of distinction, "Soul Surfers Paradise is a very exciting addition to our network. The property is already recognised as an outstanding development and our vision is for Soul to be considered one of the most iconic and successful integrated beachside properties in Australia."

Soul is an impressive 77 level tower located on the corner of Cavill Ave and The Esplanade, Surfers Paradise. Developed by Juniper, the development – including the apartment letting business - was placed into receivership in October 2012.

Receiver and Manager Michael Fung of PwC said the management appointment of Mantra Group is a strategic step in the ongoing evolution of the Soul development,  "Mantra Group is recognised as having extensive experience in managing strata titled properties. It has successfully operated beachside locations throughout Australia. We are confident that Mantra Group will maximise returns to owners while delivering the five-star experience that Soul has to offer.

“The Soul development is already recognised as a unique and prestigious five-star property Australia-wide and internationally. By operating the apartment letting business as Soul Surfers Paradise, Mantra Group can utilise its expertise to capitalise on Soul’s current profile in the market.”

All two and three bedroom apartments at Soul Surfers Paradise enjoy spectacular unobstructed ocean views, spacious floor plans, exceptional finishes, beautifully integrated indoor and outdoor spaces, superb colour palates, and exclusive fittings.

Soul's acclaimed two-hatted restaurant, Seaduction, has its own wine-tasting room and private dining room and bar, while the vibrant retail precinct offers excellent onsite shopping and dining. For business and entertaining, Soul incorporates well-appointed conference and meeting rooms to host special events of all kinds, including weddings and other celebrations.

A world class array of facilities are on offer for guests, including multiple pool areas surrounded by sun lounges and day beds; spa, sauna and steam rooms; an oasis of tropical gardens and water features; a superbly equipped gymnasium, plus outdoor exercise and recreation facilities.

Mantra Group is a leading manager and marketer of hotels and resorts in Australia and New Zealand with its first foray into Asia being the opening of Mantra Nusa Dua, Bali in March 2013. The Group owns and operates three well-known and trusted brands – Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree - with over 114 properties and 15,000 rooms under management.

www.soul.com.au

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CONTINUING discussions by the Melbourne City Council about the validity of a bike lane on St Kilda Road and Princes Bridge are important to avoid congestion on one of the city’s key transport routes, says VECCI.

VECCI Executive Director of Policy Richard Clancy says, “We are concerned about the serious impact to traffic flow that closing a lane on this high-traffic route will cause.

“We are hearing reports from the trial that congestion has definitely increased and this is exactly what businesses operating in and around the city, and transport businesses and the like, have continually raised concern about since the proposal surfaced.

“We think it is better to offer a separate bike lane or seek some other solution rather than removing a lane very regularly frequented by high traffic volumes.

“We encourage the Melbourne City Council to consider all options in making the best transport networks for all commuters in the Melbourne CBD.”

www.vecci.org.au

The Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) is the peak body for employers in Victoria, informing and servicing more than 15,000 members, customers and clients around the state.

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