The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has congratulated South Australian Premier-elect Peter Malinauskas on his victory at the state election.

The ARA looks forward to working with the Australian Labor Party (ALP) on issues affecting retailers in the state, and also thanks Steven Marshall on his leadership during the pandemic and having the ear of Australia’s retail community during a difficult time for the state’s economy.

Paul Zahra, CEO of the ARA, said whilst the worst of Covid is behind us, businesses disruption will be the new normal for some time in South Australia as retailers combat the global economic uncertainty, skills shortages, and rising supply chain costs.

“The acute labour shortages that impacted retailers earlier in the year have eased, however the sector is still affected by a shortage of front-line workers that pre-dated the pandemic and continues to be impacted by skills shortages that have been exacerbated by border closures. Retailers will be seeking support from the new government to help increase the pool of candidates.

“The challenges impacting the retail supply chain are well documented and are predicted to prevail for another year or more. We welcome collaboration between government and industry in addressing some of these challenges,” said Zahra.

Zahra believes that climate change will be the greatest disruptor the state and business sector has ever seen.

“We recognise the positive role that both sides of politics have played in protecting the environment in South Australia however, we believe there is more to be done in stepping up our efforts to establish a more sustainable, inclusive sector which is critically important to business and consumers.

“The ARA has launched its Net-zero Roadmap for the Australian retail sector and a Position Statement for Gender Equality. In-line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, we see several opportunities to reduce inequalities and accelerate our transition to the low-carbon, circular economy of the future and we warmly welcome the opportunity to engage in dialogue on these issues.”

Zahra also said that shop trading hours in South Australia is an area in desperate need of reform, that currently the outdated restrictions are not reflective of modern-day consumer behaviour.

“Shops need flexibility to open when customers want to shop – in the morning at weekends, in the evening during the week and on public holidays. We appreciate the ALP has a different view on this issue, however we are committed to good faith discussions on how we can provide increased trading hour flexibility and turbo charge South Australia’s economy.”

Image: Facebook/PMalinauskasMP