A blog on issues affecting Australia's newsagents, media and small business generally.

Author: Mark Fletcher

Newsagents loving the new contract offered by newsXpress

Two weeks ago, newsagency marketing group newsXpress offered its members a new contract at a lower monthly cost with no reduction in services and benefits.

The new contract came from a desire to lay the framework for next generation newsagency marketing group operation. For months, comprehensive modelling has been undertaken to guide the new price model. Next came considerable legal work to come up with a plain English contract that was easy to understand. newsXpress members were briefed as this evolved, and last week it was announced to members and two days ago announced to newsagents more widely:

newsXpress is grateful to be able to release to newsagents access to our new offer: $175.00 a month or $1680.00 a year paid in advance.

I say grateful because it’s the success we are having that enables us to be able to financially support this new low cost for newsagents. It’s not a limited time offer, this is our new model. We offered it to newsXpress members first, and they are loving it.

In launching this, we are launching a new contract. It’s plain English – easy to read and understand.

  • Click here to see the new contract. 
  • Click here to see the direct debit form. 
  • Click here for a copy of Cultivating joy in your newsagency, a deep dive into what newsXpress offers.

In these documents you have complete transparency about what newsXpress offers its members. You can see that there are no mate’s rates, no secret deals.

We are an evidence-based marketing group, offering advice and help to newsagents who want to run more successful, enjoyable and valuable businesses.

We are accepting new member applications now. Please email help@newsxpress.com.au to find out more.

I do think it is time for a fresh approach to newsagency marketing group operation, a fresh approach to what these groups offer and do for newsagents. With so much change confronting our channel, having a stock and engaged partner is key.

newsXpress is keen to work with newsagents who themselves are keen for change, keen to run businesses they enjoy more, that are more successful and that are worth more when they choose to sell.

Disclosure: I am Managing Director of newsXpress.

16 likes
Newsagency management

Is theft in retail on the rise?

I have noticed an increase in complaints about theft by shoppers in recent months, so much so that I wonder if this is a wider challenge for retailers.

My information comes from retailers I speak with and small business retail discussion groups I am part of. But it’s not that big of a pool considering the number of retail businesses in Australia.

So I pose the question today: in your business, are you noticing more theft by customers than previously?

While there are steps we can take to mitigate the situation, often they are considered only after a theft experience.

7 likes
theft

The turmoil of newspaper delivery for a regional newsagent under new News Corp arrangements in Victoria

Victoria is in the middle of considerable changes to newspaper distribution let by decisions of  News Corp.. While change can be challenging, as we have seen in Queensland and New South Wales, the newspaper distribution experts at News Corp. are certainly expert at the botch up. Newsagents are suffering, enduring higher costs and upset that they are letting their long-term customers down.

Here is the experience of one regional newsagent in Victoria in dealing with the Herald and Weekly Times:

The Herald and Weekly Times replaced the reliable transport company they had used for decades to deliver papers to us and many newsagents in regional Victoria. Under the new transport company arrangement, it has been a nightmare.

Previously, papers for home delivery were delivered between 2:30am-3:30am, giving us time to unload, wrap and deliver by 6:30am. This meant deliveries were done when there was less traffic on the road. Delivery people are working longer hours and are delivering to homes in a less safe situation given more traffic on the road later in the morning.

Newspaper home delivery drivers are angry and threatening to leave. Customers are disadvantaged with later papers, often coming after they have left for work.

Circulation people at the Herald and Weekly Times have been disinterested. They tell newsagents to be patient and that what newsagents are experience are teething issues. For the first couple of weeks this could be the excuse, but months in, it is no excuse at all. To be fair to them, maybe they are saying all they can given the company’s decisions.

The Herald and Weekly Times people set the OH&S standards that newsagents are consistently unable to meet now because of their failure to deliver newspapers on time. The consistent failure puts delivery drivers and the public at risk.

The failures of this change in newspaper delivery transport arrangements is impacting the mental health of some in our channel. Yet, management at the Herald and Weekly Times, and their masters at News Corp. headquarters in Sydney appear disinterested. It feels like the News Corp. financial situation is all that matters.

I get that News Corp. wants to cut costs. But to do so in a way that even more burdens are shouldered by local small business retailers reflects a lack of ethics, it represents poor social responsibility.

I tell newsagents who tell me about the challenges relating to getting newspapers on time for home delivery to quit newspaper home delivery. There is no upside. What you make today in real terms from newspaper home delivery is less than a couple of years ago. Few newsagents genuinely profit from it. It is a distraction to other parts of the business that should be experiencing double-digit growth, and which make you happier.

22 likes
Ethics

Sheesh Australia Post!

Australia Post just sent out this comms:

These times really are unlike anything we’ve seen before and as you know, our network continues to be under increased pressure with parcel volumes at Christmas levels. And this is amplified in Victoria where we continue to manage a heavily reduced workforce due to the impact of the Delta strain.

The safety of our people is our highest priority, one which we will not compromise on, and in these circumstances we have had to make some difficult decisions for our Greater Melbourne Metro operations only which will impact you

We can assure you services provided for Express Post, Premium, Startrack Express, domestic and international letters remain unchanged across our network, as does processing for all international inbound and outbound. Street Post Boxes (SPBs) will also continue to be collected.

Post Offices will remain open for all usual business, and collections in regional Victoria and all other states remain the same.

For eParcel and Parcel Post, all pickups, collections and business lodgements in Greater Melbourne Metro will be paused for five days, from 12.01am Friday 1 October to 12.01am Wednesday 6 October.

Normal medical shipments (normally lodged Parcel Post) will still be accepted subject to confirmation and by arrangement.

Our teams nationally will continue to operate, with deliveries continuing every day including weekends, and we will leverage support from other states to assist our team in Melbourne to remain safe and return to a safe and manageable level of parcel volumes.

We’re sorry for the inconvenience

We do sincerely apologise for the inconvenience this may place on you and your customers. We fully appreciate the recent pause we had a few weeks ago was challenging for you and again thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as we continue to navigate these challenges together.

As always, please do not hesitate to contact us with any queries via your Account Manager and continue to check auspost.com.au/service-updates for the latest information on impacts across our network.

Stay safe,

Gary Starr
Executive General Manager
Business, Government & International

Given the delays of the last few weeks it was clear they were not clearing the backlog.

With online key to the survival of plenty of retailers, I suspect there will be plenty frustrated by this move.

2 likes
Australia Post

How not to do click and collect

A large retailer has these instructions at their website for handling click and collect:

Their approach has multiple friction points, giving shoppers multiple reasons to not buy through them. Click and collect should be easy, certain and enjoyable. While there will be some overhead for the business and the customer, what this business imposes is ridiculous.

They get you to go to their website. They they want a photo of the order. Then they have you complete a form. Then they will ring you. They, finally, you get to go to the shop from you ring them again to have them bring the goods to you.

I’ve been doing click and collect for years through several of my shops. It’s single-step, each and certain for the customer and for the business, as it should be.

Every barrier we insert between ourselves and our customers is a hurdle to the revenue opportunity.

1 likes
Newsagency management

If you want to convert your business to a newsagency

I have been contacted by several different people in recent weeks asking how they can convert their existing shop into a newsagency business. While each had different reasons, they were certain that they wanted to make the move. So, let’s explore that.

There is no licence as such to call your business a newsagency. The shingle has no regulation associated with it. There is regulation around lottery products and there are hoops to jump through for newspapers and magazines though, as well a some supplier driven regulation around access to newspapers and magazines – but that’s more related to physical location and proximity to other retailers.

There is no place you can go that will tell you all you need to know, or what you need to do, which is good because this in itself is a barrier that speaks to challenges of trading in the channel.

Before you go too far down the path you need to know sure of why you want to make the move and what the move actually looks like. If it is putting in papers and magazines to your existing shop, that’s relatively easy … but does it make your business a newsagency? If this is you, you need to know there are plenty of newsagents transitioning the other way.

Back in the day, a traditional newsagency was anchored with several key product categories: newspapers, magazines, lottery products, greeting cards, and stationery. You could say tobacco was in there, but it was not as dominant as the aforementioned five. The first three product categories are agency lines. That is, you are paid a commission to sell them, and the commission is far less than usual retail margin.

If converting your existing shop to a newsagency for you means you want lotteries, you need to approach Lotterywest if you are in WA or Tabcorp if you are elsewhere in Australia. I am not sharing specific contact details as that is a hoop you need to jump through, consider it a qualifier.

If you want newspapers, your starting place needs to be the publisher. They will connect you with the right people if they are interested.

If you want magazines, you need to start with Ovato, or Are Direct as they will soon be called.

But, it’s more than getting supply. You need to consider space in your shop, the time management requirements for each category and how the shoppers for those categories may fit, or not, with your existing customer mix.

I am barely scratching the surface on this topic. That’s deliberate. Making your existing shop a newsagency is not easy. It is important that you understand this from the outset.

8 likes
Newsagency management

How the News Corp. take over of newspaper home delivery from local small business newsagents is going

This comment from yesterday morning prompted me to share the tweets in this post:

We have had a 7day newspaper delivery for over 40 years. First by newsagent and in last 2 years by News Ltd contractor. The newsagent was excellent but the contractor is hit and miss. Some days we get paper some days not. It can be delivered anywhere fron 5am to 12 midday. Just recently it has been changed to a plastic sealed cover with paper being delivered flat. The driver must find it impossible to throw from vehicle. Our paper ends up anywhere from our neighbours yard to being on gutter or on the road. We also were told the late delivery is because the paper is coming from Sunshine Coast. Heaven forbid why we live in Brisbane.

These tweets, a selection of what’s out there, from newspaper customers speak volumes:

And this, relating to cutting supply in regional Australia:

The decisions read like the company plans to shrink newspaper home delivery to nothing.

5 likes
Newspaper distribution

Placement is everything

We moved the AFL record Friday from the magazine section to a table on the lease line and almost immediately it sold. We have to re-stock the stand.

The move took a minute and while it interrupted access to the products on the table, for AFL crazed Melbourne it makes sense.

The success of the move was a reminder of the value of pitching magazines from time to time on the lease line. Given the premium nature of this space, we do it more sparingly than back in the agency days.

2 likes
magazines

newsXpress swag bag offers a trade show experience

newsXpress sent its members a swag bag of product samples to try and explore a couple of weeks ago. Each swag bag (a box actually) was worth around $200.00 and contained items (mainly but not all) bought by newsXpress from newsXpress preferred suppliers for members to see, touch, feel and try.

Included was literature about products, too – pricing as well as vital contextual information that helps retailers understand the role each product can play.

The swag bag is a unique tactile opportunity that I came up with to fill a void felt by retailers who were missing the trade show experiences.

Here is a photo of some of the items in each swag bag sent to newsXpress members.

There was more than you can see in this photo.

All of the items are from newsXpress preferred suppliers with preferential access, pricing and terms for newsXpress members.

I am grateful to suppliers for their engagement and to newsXpress members for their engagement with the sample products since receiving them.

I doubt trade shows will ever bounce back to where they were, in part because suppliers have benefited from not having that operating cost and in part because plenty of retailers have grown without the cost of trade shows, even though many do miss the ‘holiday’. It’s important we continue to seek out ways to replace the trade show experience, to help retailers keep evolving their businesses.

2 likes
Newsagency management

Solomon Lew calls for only vaccinated Aussies to be allowed in malls

Premier Investments  Chairman Solomon Lew said yesterday that once Victoria and New South Wales are out of lockdown, only vaccinated people should be allowed in shopping malls:

“It’s our strong preference that the government mandates that all persons entering a mall be vaccinated and temperature checked as well,” Mr Lew said.

Mr Lew said he would not be comfortable sitting down in a food court next to someone who was unvaccinated, and noted it was important the onus for enforcing the rules was placed on shopping centre owners as it would not be practical for each store to have its own marshals checking customers’ vaccination status.

“The centre owners have an absolute responsibility to ensure that the venue is not only safe for the entire family shopping experience, but to ensure that our retail staff have nothing to fear by trying to earn a living working in retail stores,” he said.

I have two shops in Westfield centres. Both shops have been open throughout the pandemic. I know of plenty of small business retailers who have been open throughout. I see no reason to block access to only the vaccinated. Our stringent protocols for staff and customers have, so far, maintained a safe workplace and shopping experience.

It is disappointing that media outlets are giving Lew’s opinions a run today without speaking with the many small business retailers who have been open throughout the pandemic.

11 likes
Social responsibility

More calls to boycott the Herald Sun

Allied to the protests in Melbourne this past week has been an increase in calls for people to boycott the Herald Sun, with some referencing similar calls in the UK re The Sun.

12 likes
Ethics

It’s fair-weather friends season

Some suppliers who have resisted opening accounts with newsagents without looking at the actual businesses applying now welcome retailers from our channel because of our good Covid story.

That we have been open throughout and thrived has shown them the value of retail businesses in our channel.

Suppliers who realised this last year and responded are not the ones I am writing about today. rather, I am writing about suppliers responding to the latest NSW / ACT / VIC lockdowns.

I am aware of several who have steadfastly resisted newsagents who now welcome them as customers. One is actively pushing into the channel, setting up some difficult conversations with existing account retailers when they do get to reopen. They have overcome a prejudice they help for years because they have a warehouse of stock they need to move and our channel is just about the only game in town for them. While it’;s good to see, I do wonder if they really have overcome their prejudice.

I am sceptical of some suppliers opening to our channel. If I was to take any of them on, I’d want certainty that into the future they will not restrict the product categories available to me. If they balk at that question I’d wonder about the long-term prospects for the relationship.

While there is considerable diversity among the retail businesses in our channel, it is, overall, strong, with a bright future. This is in part because of how much many of us have evolved from the shingle.

7 likes
Newsagency challenges

Hallmark US introduces sign & send

The Hallmark Sign & Send service offers real handwriting on a physical card posted for you. Click here for a story about it from Know Techie.

This new feature can take a lot of the hassle out of sending any kind of card to friends or family. With Sign & Send, you no longer have to browse the aisles of your local CVS to find that perfect card that you can then personalize and send on its way. Now, you can do it all from your phone, at Hallmark.com.

So how does it work? Well, it’s actually fairly simple. All you have to do is head over to the Hallmark website. From there, you can browse a variety of different cards for virtually every occasion, including birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and many more.

Once you’ve found a card that suits your needs, you can then write a personalized message and take a picture and upload it to the Hallmark website, and the company will print your message on the card you chose. After that, Hallmark will send your card to the designated address, and your job is done!

It will be interesting to see if this US offer makes it to any other marketplaces. It would not surprise me to see it here. Their online shopping initiative has quietly launched in Australia. Their local website offers consumer direct purchasing. Hallmark is not the only card company doing this.

But, back to the Sign & Send initiative. Card companies the world over have been trying to find ways to keep shoppers engaged with sending cards. The interest in this has to have intensified through Covid and the challenges faced by some retail channels.

In our place in the greeting card supply chain, now more than ever, we have to ensure we have the best possible range of cards presented in easily browsed and bought situations. This is a product category that response to retailer in-store engagement. I mention this in case newsagents grumble about Hallmark and others making moves to better connect with shoppers. We can grow card sales. Plenty of us are, by being engaged retailers who make data driven decisions.

3 likes
Greeting Cards

Kikki k troubles an opportunity for newsagents?

With Kikki k in administration for the second time in recent years, it could be a good time to look at your social stationery offering. There are many suppliers in this space that we can access. It is easy to curate ranges that evolve over time, that can be promoted on social media, following some of the excellent marketing cues used by Kikki k.

This space of inspiring stationery that nurtures optimism and feeds happiness is a space made for retailers in the newsagency channel if they want to embrace it.

Meanwhile, Kikki k is quitting stock and stores. This, from their website:

This premium stationery space is competitive. Marketing can’t be traditional and inventory or price driven. The biggest success I have seen in this space has been built on aspiration marketing that is backed by quality product. The moment you take it down a value (discount) path, you’re on unstable ground.

It will be interesting to see what emerges from the Kikki k administration. Maybe third time is a charm. Maybe the brand has value for another business. I suspect the retail stores are in for a rough time as that’s where there is significant cost.

Regardless of what happens next with Kikki k, there is an opportunity right now to consider whether their tough times present an opportunity for you.

3 likes
Stationery

Calendar sales already strong for the 2022 season

It is interesting seeing the early surge in sales of 2022 calendars. I see parallels between calendar sales and Christmas card sales. They are an easy gift to post, not expensive and can play into special interests.

Comparing this year to 2020 and 2019, I am seeing data indicating that at this point, 2021 is ahead, which is good news for retailers with calendars out already.

Our focus right now very much is on special interest calendars.

This train calendar fist with the specialty nature of long-tail magazines. We are using calendar images for social media posts, to connect with that shopper looking for these special interest titles.

Right now the opportunity is good because some of our traditional competitors are not open. So, yeah, I am leveraging that essential opportunity, for which I don’t apologise.

The train calendar is from the Bartel range. we have that display on the lease line, where it is working at attracting shoppers. It is next to our boxed Christmas cards. I see them as a natural fit.

3 likes
Calendars

Another day of political lobbying by the Herald Sun

Rather than report news, like the coming out of lockdown roadmap released by the State Government yesterday, on the front page, the Herald Sun today runs another front page splash designed to anger Victorians. This looks like interference by a foreign company to me. This lockdown is a result of failures in NSW, a state with a government supported by News Corp and festered by people not following lockdown rules, something I could argue egged-on by News Corp.

12 likes
Ethics

Did Herald Sun ‘reporting’ play a role in the Richmond protests yesterday?

I live in Richmond Victoria, a street from where some of the violent protests occurred yesterday, once street away from some disturbing footage you can see in this video:

We have media outlets in this city that have, in my opinion, played a role in encouraging unrest that has played a role ‘encouraging’ the protests.

The Herald Sun has run story after story about the lockdowns, personalising attacks agains the premier. They preference appears to be for opinion, to encourage a set of views, more so than reporting. You only have to see today’s front page to see that in action.

This front page story, Dan’s slow road, is not journalism. The so-called slow road is the road agreed by national cabinet – but there’s no reference to that on the front page.

I am angry at the personal risk I and my neighbours faced yesterday. While the major confrontations were one street away, there were protestors on my street, as well as police. There were also helicopters directly overhead. It was a tense few hours.

The coffee shop I go to had hundreds of protestors outside, closing with police. I can only imaging how they felt.

The actions of the protestors effectively caused us to be barricaded in for the day given how the local streets were barricaded.

I am tired of selling this nonsense published baby News Corp., tired that their newspapers are no longer newspapers, that they are political lobbying pamphlets.

I support free speech. But to dress this up as front page news is ridiculous. News Corp. should focus on news on the front page and restrict opinion peddling to their opinion pages – and they should label them as such.

Do I think the Herald Sun played a role in what we saw yesterday in Victoria? It is hard to say, specifically. I do think the Herald Sun has played a role in encouraging unrest and disrespect.

Footnote: the protest was in Richmond because the police decided to stop the trains at my local station. This decision caused the city planned protest to relocate to my suburb. I would like to understand why the police thought shifting a protest from an empty CBD to populated suburban streets was a good idea.

19 likes
Ethics

Amazon promoting Covid vaccination

Here is a flyer being distributed by Amazon, in boxes of products, in recent deliveries here in Melbourne. I was surprised when I first saw it, but then realised that this is a government flyer. It’s not something I have noticed being offered to online retailers.

Here is an example of vaccination encouraging collateral published by newsXpress for use by its members.

There is no obligation on newsXpress members to use this. However, given the engagement by some major retailers, there is kind of an expectation in the community.

I have tested the video and the feedback was encouraging, with people liking the focus on doing this for the kids.

I am not posting here saying businesses should push a pro vaccine message. But, for me, it feels right given that easing of restriction settings does connect with vaccination targets being met.

5 likes
Social responsibility

10 things you could do in your newsagency business to make it more valuable when you choose to sell

Here are 10 things newsagents could do in their businesses to make them more valuable when it comes time to sell. based on my years of experience working with newsagents and, yes, owning newsagency businesses, most items on this list will be ignored most of the time.

  • Declutter. An appealing looking business is easier to sell. On the shop floor, at the counter, in the back room – declutter and make the business more appealing to you, prospective buyers and customers.
  • Deal with old stock. Old stock is worthless to you and anyone being the business. Keeping it is a waste of space, time and cash. This work starts with you knowing what is old stock. Note: a business doing this for the first time will usually find that a third of their current stock is performing well below what is average for the business.
  • Review unprofitable activity. Look carefully at each category of product or service you offer. Get to an accurate understanding of the value of each. Consider quitting those that are under performing.
  • Trim the roster. Labour costs around 11% of revenue. Every dollar saved is a dollar that benefits the P&L. Yes, this likely means more hours for you. It all depends what you want out of the business.
  • Price for margin. While plenty of retailers pressure suppliers for lower prices, too few actively consider what they could sell some items for, missing the opportunity for a better margin. Where you can, price for a better margin.
  • Document. Write up your processes, systems you follow and more. Document this and make the business easier to run and appear easier to run. The documenting process itself is likely to lead to efficiency opportunities uncovered. The resulting documentation will make the business more appealing.
  • Clean up online. Review your Facebook, Google and other listings. Make sure they are current for if they are not it reflects poorly on the business.
  • Reduce debt. I see too many retail businesses where debt is used with an expectation that it will be dealt with when the business is sold. Clean it up now as much as you are able. The less interest you pay the more money the business makes.
  • Review opening hours. Often in business data I see opening hours opportunities – either for longer hours or shorter hours. be guided by your business data.
  • Balance sheet clean up. While selling a retail business will often not include selling the company structure, the tidiness of your balance sheet may not be ideal for that time you do come to sell. It’s better you discover this and work on it prior to needing to.

This list could be considerably longer. My goal is to encourage newsagents top consider what they can do in their businesses today to make them more valuable when they do choose to sell.

10 likes
buying a newsagency

Ovato to rebrand as Are Direct

Here is the press release from this morning, in full:

Are Media rebrands Ovato Retail Distribution to Are Direct across Australia and New Zealand

Sydney – 15 September 2021: Are Media has today announced the rebranding of Ovato Retail Distribution (ORD) to Are Direct across Australia and New Zealand.

Are Media remains committed to supporting and strengthening the retail and newsagency sector and the magazine category in its entirety, by ensuring retailers receive a reliable supply of diverse and relevant magazines to drive revenue and foot traffic in store.

Are Direct will continue to distribute Are Media’s magazines and the magazines of local and international publishers to 2,800 newsagents and travel outlets, 2,300 supermarkets and 1,900 convenience stores around Australia and to retail outlets across New Zealand.

Some 250 employees who previously worked for ORD have transitioned to Are Direct, with David Hogan continuing to lead the newly acquired business in Australia and Tony Edwards continuing to lead it in New Zealand.

Jane Huxley, CEO of Are Media said: “Are Direct’s focus continues to be on ensuring magazines from all publishers are efficiently distributed to retailer partners, supporting their businesses and enabling easy access to magazines by all consumers. So it’s very much a case of business as usual.

“I’m delighted to welcome Are Direct’s team to the Are Media family, meaning the deliveries and service support our partners have come to expect are not only maintained but enhanced.”

The Are Direct name change will be effective from Monday 1st November.

2 likes
magazines

Understanding a massive retail competitor

Local small business retailers too often dismiss Amazon as a competitor because they are too big, or feel unreachable. The thing in, Amazon is one of the most clever and engaged data driven companies in the world.

If you want to understand how the company leverages data in its decision making, read Mapping Amazon. Where the Online Giant Locates Its Warehouses and Why. I found it educational, and fascinating.

Amazon is a competitor we need to better understand. Their reach is extraordinary. Every move is calculated, based on data, and that is why this article is important to read.

The article I have linked to can be easy to dismiss with they are not doing that here, because we don’t see it like in Mexico or the US. They are, though, but on a scale approximating our size.

Amazon is a massive competitor. It is vital we try and understand them.

4 likes
Competition

JobSaver program changes damage the program, hurt small businesses

When. announced in July this year by the federal government and NSW government, the JobSaver program was claimed to be an easy offer of financial support ro small businesses in NSW impacted by the latest Covid lockdown. It was simple, until last week.

Late Friday last week, the NSW government announced changes to the program, imposing red-tape obligations on businesses that will hinder their access to funds. The folks at Nine Media have the story:

Red tape nightmare: JobSaver changes stun struggling businesses

Struggling businesses relying on income support to survive lockdown fear jobs will be lost in a sea of red tape created by the NSW government after it unexpectedly tightened eligibility tests around its JobSaver program.

Small and medium businesses receiving payments from the JobSaver scheme were surprised by emails on Friday afternoon from Service NSW informing them they would be required to check their operations meet turnover eligibility criteria for every fortnight from September 10. This followed an extension of the scheme as COVID-19 lockdowns continue.

The request stunned businesses, bookkeepers and accountants as they grappled with requests from clients unaware this would be required.

Institute of Certified Bookkeepers chairman Matthew Addison said there had been discussions about proving companies had kept their employees on the books, but the requirement to recalculate turnover declines was unexpected.

“It is just unreasonable,” Mr Addison said. “I had a heart attack on Friday [about the notice] … They don’t quite understand that while, yes, we are in a digitised world and a digital accounting system, businesses are not focused on getting their revenue numbers into the system, they are just focused on keeping the door open.”

I have heard from several retailers over the last few days about the changes. They are frustrated that the government has changed the rules mid-lockdown, imposing a time obligation on them and introducing uncertainty. I helped a couple of them craft complaints to the state and federal governments about this. I also made my own approaches to each.

Several who contacted me claimed that the government wouldn’t make a move like this against big businesses.

I have done my own research, looking at was announced in July and what was sent our late Friday. The rules have changed.

The changes are such that some retailers may feel it’s not worth reapplying.

To me, the changes seem unnecessary at the moment. What was wrong that required this change now? There was no warning. No reports of anything being broken.

It’s as if the federal government and NSW government have decided that small businesses are not that important to them. But, hey, at the next election they will spit out the usual backbone of the country guff.

JobSaver should not have been touched until after NSW was out of lockdown. And then, review, consider, and change if necessary for next time.

Footnote: I am aware that late last night the state government announced a delay to implementation. What I have written above still holds true. Any changes should come after this current lockdown is over.

8 likes
Social responsibility