Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury today chaired the inaugural meeting of the Retail Council of Australia (the Council) in Sydney.
"The retail sector is an important part of the Australian economy and a vital source of employment, accounting for around 4 per cent of GDP and employing about 1.2 million people," said Mr Bradbury.
"Today's meeting provided a valuable opportunity for the diverse range of retail sector stakeholders to have a face to face discussion about the opportunities and challenges for the industry in Australia."
The Presiding Commissioner of the Productivity Commission's 2011 inquiry into the Economic Structure and Performance of the Australian Retail Industry, Phillip Weickhardt, provided a presentation on the key findings from the inquiry at the meeting.
There was also a discussion on the role the Council can play as an important advisory body to Government, as well as a discussion on the implications of new technology in stores and in the hands of consumers, and in particular the opportunities and challenges presented by online trading.
It was noted that the Low Value Parcel Processing Taskforce is due to report to Government by the end of the month and that the Council will be consulted to assist in informing the Government's response to its recommendations.
"I would like to thank members for their contribution to the Council's inaugural meeting, and look forward to continuing close and constructive engagement with them on issues affecting the future of retail in Australia".
19 July 2012