The Productivity Commission is looking into the implications of globalisation on the Australian retail sector. The government is strongly encouraging brick and mortar and online retailers, consumer groups, unions, shoppers, suppliers and other experts and stakeholders to make submissions to the inquiry. Retail is one of the largest employers in the country, and with ABS statistics showing retail turnover in Australia for the 12 months to October was $242 billion.

The expected timeline for the inquiry is:

  • Submissions due by – week beginning 16 May
  • Draft report release – week beginning 1 August
  • Submissions on draft report due by – week beginning 3 October
  • Final report to Government – November

The inquiry will examine the current structure, performance and efficiency of the sector and the drivers of structural change in the industry, including globalisation, increasing household and business access to the digital economy, changing cost structures, employment issues and the exchange rate. The Commission will also consider the broader issues posed by an increase in online purchasing by Australian consumers and the role online purchasing plays in providing consumers with greater choice, access and convenience.  The sustainability and appropriateness of the current indirect tax arrangements in this environment will also be considered.

It is hoped the Productivity Commission inquiry will provide insight into the challenges faced by the Australian retail sector in a globalised shopping world, and lay the foundations for a vibrant Australian retail sector for the next 25 years.

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