PEAK retail industry body the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has welcomed the Abbott Government’s commitment to dedicate an entire sitting day to the repeal of redundant regulation on 26 March and calls for this initiative to be made a regular occurrence.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said the ARA encourages all State and local Governments to follow suit of the US, where congress has regular repeal days, and review the burden of red tape as frequently as possible to enable retailers to get on with the job of doing business.

“Red tape is impeding Australian retailers. We hope the Abbott government uses this day to repeal redundant laws that impede retailers from doing business, not just removing clearly outdated laws, for example the law that exists in Victoria stating that only licensed electricians may change a light bulb*.

"We hope this repeal day will have a direct impact on retail businesses and see a significant reduction in unnecessary red tape.

“A law that is still enforced and impacts businesses requires them to tag and test all electrical products every 12 months, including mobile phone charges which produces low level 12 volts**.

“Unreasonable and outdated regulation imposes unnecessary costs on business that are inevitably passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices. Australian retailers have been conveying a consistent message to the Government that there needs to be an urgent and significant reduction in regulation to improve Australia’s productivity and competitiveness.

“Dedicating Parliamentary sitting days to repealing regulation is certainly a step in the right direction and highlights the Coalitions’ commitment of cutting $1 billion in red tape each year to benefit retailers,” Mr Zimmerman said.

Since 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has been the peak industry body representing Australia’s $265 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 or call 1300 368 041


*As cited in the Telegraph News, August 17, 2007, The worlds strangest laws.
**AS/NZS 3760:2010. 


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EARLY January is a time of great promise and excitement for many business operators as they picture what could be a year of big achievements.

Astute operators harness this momentum to define and refine their New Year’s resolutions and business goals.

With this in mind, Australia’s largest accounting software provider, MYOB shares its top tips to help SMEs devise New Year’s resolutions that will direct them towards business success.

MYOB CEO Tim Reed says, “January is the ideal time to reflect and to give new strategies and goals the green light, instead of taking a ‘business as usual’ approach. Operators who commit to clarifying their priorities early in the piece will likely reap the rewards. It can mean the difference between flourishing and floundering.

“When setting New Year’s resolutions, big or small, the first step is to plan. Set some specific and inspiring goals around key areas of your business that you wish to develop. Begin by asking yourself what you will stop doing as well as start doing in 2014.

“Whatever your business goals, such as driving efficiencies, harnessing the power of cloud technology, or finessing your finances, establishing your New Year’s resolutions can help you approach the year with renewed vigour.”

MYOB’s suggested New Year’s resolutions for SMEs:

1. Learn from last year’s hits and misses  Place the previous 12 months’ trading under the microscope. Analyse the strategies that worked, those that didn’t, and work out the ‘whys’. Why did some products or services succeed when others flopped? What changes could you make in 2014 to ensure mistakes aren’t repeated, and opportunities aren’t missed? Get the ball rolling with a SWOT analysis – a useful technique for understanding your business strengths and weaknesses and for identifying the opportunities open to you and the threats your business may face.

2. Stay on the business track   A solid business plan will help you make better business decisions about the strategies you need to continue to operate and grow. If you’re looking for annual growth of 100%, you will need a different strategy to one that shoots for 10% growth. Then, to ensure you tick off your to-do list in 2014, make strategic planning a weekly or fortnightly task. Ongoing strategic thinking is great for defining goals and objectives within a timeframe, helping to ensure you and your team have a consensus about where the business is going and how to stay on track.

3. Don’t try to be all things to all people    Are you the director, IT person, admin manager and salesperson in your business? Wearing multiple hats can be exhausting. Avoid micromanaging if you are lucky enough to have employees. Delegate intelligently. It can be challenging letting go, but if you don’t delegate, growing your business could become a pipe dream. Why not outsource tasks you loathe, so you can spend more time on growing the business?

4. Grow to love your numbers   Many business owners consider themselves too busy to check or understand their financial statements. Learn about profit and loss statements, balance sheets and cash flow statements and don’t shy away from the numbers. Making time to understand your financial documents will give you greater control and a clearer picture of your business and its performance. It can help you make smarter decisions and improve your ability to communicate productively with your accountant and other advisers. With cash flow ranking as the second highest pressure point for SMEs in the latest MYOB Business Monitor report, it’s time to add cash flow expertise to your toolbox. Ask your trusted accountant or bookkeeper to guide you.

5. Don’t be afraid to embrace technology   Cloud-based accounting software, convenient mobile apps, online business management tools…today’s business technologies can save you time and drive significant efficiencies. For example, SMEs utilising MYOB’s bank feeds - a service that automatically feeds bank transactions into cloud accounting solutions MYOB LiveAccounts or AccountRight Live - say it saves them an average of 10 hours per month. The average value they put on this time saving is $713.

Establishing a good mix of clearly defined goals and strategic activities before the pace of business picks up can help put you on a pathway towards 2014 success.

For MYOB product information, research results, business tips, discussions, client service and more visit the MYOB Australia website, or its The Pulse Blog, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

About MYOB Australia

Established in 1991, MYOB is Australia’s largest business management solutions provider. It makes life easier for approx. 1.2 million businesses across Australia and New Zealand, by simplifying accounting, payroll, tax, practice management, CRM, websites, job costing, inventory and more. MYOB provides ongoing support via many client service channels including a network of over 40,000 accountants, bookkeepers and other consultants. It is committed to ongoing innovation, particularly in cloud computing solutions, and now spends more than AU$30 million annually on research and development. In 2013, MYOB expanded its offerings with the acquisition of accounting solutions povider BankLink. 



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PEAK retail industry body the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) said the seasonally adjusted rise (0.7 percent increase) in monthly retail trade figures (month-on-month) reported today by the ABS followed a 0.5 percent rise in October 2013.

Year on year retail growth also increased to 4.6 percent - a very positive sign for the retail sector and encouraging start to the Christmas sales period.

ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said the 0.7 percent increase is a positive sign that we can expect even higher results in December, when the majority of Australians start their Christmas shopping.

“Today’s figures also include online estimates for the first time. Based on the 1.8 percent ABS figure, the ARA estimates overall Australian based annual online retail sales to be $4.74 billion dollars. These retailers are Australian based, pay Australian taxes and employ Australians. 

“It is disappointing however that the ABS data does not include online overseas sales to Australia or by online category. The NAB online survey released yesterday indicated total online sales (overseas and Australian) were traveling at 6.4 percent of total retail sales. If the ABS figures are accurate, 1.8 percent of that figure is from Australian pure play and multichannel online retailers, or accounting for around a third of the online retail market.

“This gives the strongest indication yet that Australian, traditional, multichannel and online retailers who pay GST, while their overseas counterparts do not, is unfairly assisting overseas online retailers to grow their market share. 

“The ARA will be working alongside the ABS to break these figures down by category; as anecdotal evidence would suggest sales as a proportion would be higher in some categories than others. We will also ask the government to collect overseas online sales data.

“Overall, today’s online figures are a great indication that the retail sector has experienced a good start to Christmas and Australian retailers are growing in the online space.

“The largest industry contributor to the monthly rise was other retailing (2.1%), cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (2.2%) and clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (1.7%). These rises were partially offset by a fall in department stores (-2.0%).

“Summer finally graced us with her presence in November and the welcome change in weather encouraged consumers to make the most of their local takeaway joints, cafes and restaurants (up 2.2%).

“The ARA was also pleased to see turnover rise in Victoria (0.9%), Western Australia (1.3%), New South Wales (0.4%), Queensland (0.5%), South Australia (0.9%), the Northern Territory (1.7%) and Tasmania (0.5%).

“Anecdotally, a number of retailers I have spoken to since Christmas have been blown away by how enormous Boxing Day was and how successful sales have been over the last two weeks. We hope this will be evident in December’s retail trade figures.

“The ARA is looking forward to the official pre and post-Christmas sales results which will be released in February and March,” Mr Zimmerman said. 
MONTHLY RETAIL GROWTH (October 2013 - November 2013 seasonally adjusted)

Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (2.2%), Other retailing (2.1%), Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (1.7%), Household goods retailing (0.7%), Food retailing (-0.1%), and Department stores (-2.0%). Total sales (0.7%).          

Northern Territory (1.7%), Western Australia (1.3%), Victoria (0.9%), South Australia (0.9%), Tasmania (0.5%), Queensland (0.5%),New South Wales (0.4%), and Australian Capital Territory (-0.2%). Total sales (0.7%)


YEAR-ON-YEAR RETAIL GROWTH (November 2012 – November 2013 seasonally adjusted)

Clothing, footwear and personal accessory retailing (10.5%), Cafes, restaurants and takeaway food services (8.3%), Other retailing (5.2%), Household goods retailing (4.0%),Food retailing (3.3%), and Department stores (-1.1%). Total sales (4.6%).

Tasmania (7.1%) Northern Territory (6.1%), New South Wales (4.9%), Victoria (4.9%), Queensland (4.7%), South Australia (4.6%), Australian Capital Territory (4.1%), and Western Australia (2.6%).
Total sales (4.6%).

Since 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has been the peak industry body representing Australia’s $265 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 or call 1300 368 041.



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VECCI welcomes today's red tape reduction measures announced by the State Government that will help reduce the cost of doing business in Victoria.
“We’re delighted with the government’s announcement because poorly designed, out-dated, overly prescriptive regulations that add to business costs need to be removed,” says VECCI Chief Executive Mark Stone.
“Regulations cost the state economy an estimated $3.3 billion annually, so we need ongoing reform across all levels of government.”
Mr Stone’s comments come as the government announces a range of amendments under its plan to cut red tape by 25 per cent, to ensure Victoria continues to be an attractive destination for investment and employment.
The changes cover a wide ambit of sectors including mining, tourism and transport, hospitality, building and construction, farming and retail.
VECCI has been a consistent advocate for the need to reduce red tape and provided direct input to the Red Tape Commissioner, John Lloyd.
“We urge the government to now monitor the implementation of these reforms to ensure they are achieving their purpose and the estimated $715 million savings are realised, and to press-on with the next tranche of reform to ensure Victoria remains competitive,” says Mr Stone.

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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New safety data released by the Victorian Government today confirms Victorian employers have continued to set high workplace occupational health and safety standards, says VECCI Chief Executive Mark Stone.

Mr Stone was commenting on the release of Victorian WorkCover Authority (VWA) data by the Assistant Treasurer,  Gordon Rich-Phillips MLC, that shows the number of injury claims has fallen by seven per cent in the 12 months to September 2013, from 7.98 to 7.42 claims per million hours worked.

Mr Stone said workplace safety is a priority for Victorian employers and their efforts, in concert with employees and VWA, has meant Victoria continues to set the standard for workplace occupational health and safety across Australia.

He added that the latest data builds on the 2012/13 safety results, which showed an encouraging improvement in return to work rates among injured workers.

VECCI’s 2013 Victoria Summit highlighted the importance of getting injured workers back to work sooner, to perform either their pre-injury role or suitable alternative tasks.

It also called for improvements in the way agents and health practitioners manage injury and illness claims.

“People returning to work as soon as possible after an injury is a ‘win-win’ for business, employees and their families, and the wider community,” says Mr Stone.

Mr Stone said that while the Government has delivered on its promise of a three per cent reduction in Victorian WorkCover premiums at 1.298 per cent of payroll, it is important to consider the scope for further premium reductions in 2014 and beyond, in order to reward better health and safety performance.

“With WorkSafe Victoria recording a solid net result of $1.084 billion in 2012/13 and a funding ratio of 108 per cent (compared to 96 per cent at 30 June 2012), now is the time to recognise the efforts of Victorian employers with lower insurance premiums,” says Mr Stone.

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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