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ARA ‘bitter’ over Small Business portfolio removal

parliamentThe Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is urging the new Coalition Government Ministry to make business and the economy a focus of the next three years, despite the removal of the Small Business portfolio from cabinet.

With the new Turnbull Ministry now in place, the ARA’s executive director, Russell Zimmerman, paid a reminder to the importance of the retail sector as Australia’s largest private sector employer with over 10 percent of the working population employed in the retail industry.

Zimmerman said he was pleased to see consistency within Treasury portfolios, citing the retention of Treasurer Scott Morrison and Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O’Dwyer, however noted that the ARA is “bitterly disappointed” to see that the Small Business portfolio has been removed from cabinet.

“Given its important role within the economy, the omission of the Small Business portfolio from one of the largest cabinets in decades does not augur well,” said Zimmerman.

“The exclusion of Small Business at a point when the economy needs business the most, is step backwards,” he said. “We can only hope that Mr McCormack is able to make the voice of Small Business heard.”

Zimmerman said the ARA retaining of Michaelia Cash as Minister for Employment is also important for the retail industry.

“From the ARA’s perspective, there needs to be a consensus on a productivity agenda that drives growth through real workplace flexibility changes, lowering of the tax base for business to individuals, and pushing State-based reform on business costs such as construction, planning, and tax bases,” said Zimmerman.

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