Perth growth ‘lagging’

A vacant shop on The Crescent in Midland.
A vacant shop on The Crescent in Midland.

He said the �for lease� signs suggested that a retailer had been there at some stage and was no longer there.

�They have moved out, moved on and cleared out,� he said.

Mr Zimmerman said this was a phenomenon in the eastern states which had largely been reversed since 2010.

�After the global financial crisis we saw a lot of retail business close as the flow-on effects of the cash crisis hit Australia,� he said.

�But in New South Wales and Sydney today I am happy to report we have moved through that crisis and with a positive attitude and the State Government talking up the economy and confidence, we are experiencing growth in retail in the region of 5.9 per cent in the last year on year figures.

�In Perth, though, the economic growth is sitting at 2.9 per cent, which is significantly lower than the eastern seaboard.

�Month-by-month growth is at 4.6 per cent nationally and WA is sitting on 3.2 per cent, so it is below the national average.

Mr Zimmerman said in the future Australia would be strongly reliant on tourism to lift expenditure, particularly for retailers.

�Melbourne is unfortunately also experiencing a slow down and we have seen 30,000 jobs lost in the retail sector so far nationally.

�If the GST is not lowered to zero, another 30,000 jobs in retail will also be lost.�

Mr Zimmerman urged the government to keep people in a positive frame of mind.

�Retail does best when consumers feel positive,� he said.

�We behove the government to keep people in a positive frame of mind to ensure they can progress their business.�

Mr Zimmerman was in Perth last month to meet retailers from Midland and surrounding areas and representatives from the Swan Chamber of Commerce.

The group discussed ways businesses could try to stay open.

�How quickly the low value threshold can be reduced to zero is obviously the most important issue we have for Australian retailers at the moment,� Mr Zimmerman said.

RIPPLE EFFECT FROM BUSINESS CLOSURES

THE flow-on effect of small business closing in local areas is often not felt until years later.

Zenith Music managing director Lionel Cranfield said he often donated $25,000 to $35,000 worth of equipment and funds to schools and local concerts run by charities.

�If my store closes, who will step into the breach and donate the use of a grand piano to a concert for charity?� he said.

�These are the unseen consequences of not shopping locally.�

Mr Cranfield said most of his staff were students who wanted the flexibility of being able to work around their classes.

�There won�t be the jobs for local students if small business fails,� he said.

Small business owners at a meeting with Australian Retailers Association executive director Russell Zimmerman said lowering the GST threshold to zero would enable the government to collect more taxes to build the economy and support communities, instead of having to cut from them.