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Oz Retailers Lament $12 Billion Delta Price Tag

The Australian Retailers Association has lamented what it says is a $12 billion impact on retail from the Delta lockdowns as South-East Queensland extends its stay-at-home orders.

Around 100 days of lockdowns have been chalked up this year so far, most prominently in Sydney, which is now hoping to open up at the end of August.

With nine million Australians in lockdown across NSW and Queensland, ARA CEO Paul Zahra says that the eight-day Queensland lockdown will cost half a billion dollars, bringing the total price tag from Delta to $12 billion; he also lamented the “woefully low vaccination rates” adding to the disruptions.

“As the Delta variant runs rampant, businesses are feeling the pinch more now than at any stage before in the pandemic and need the safety-net of tried and tested support schemes that we know are effective.

“Even with the existing state and federal support schemes that are available, we have grave concerns for the survival of many small businesses in the face of Delta’s current impacts,” he said.

While Zahra has welcomed the $5000 payments to small and medium businesses in Queensland, as well as federal COVID support measures, he says these won’t be enough to compensate retailers for their losses.

“The continued, rapid transmission of the virus in multiple states reinforces the need for national solutions to what is quite clearly a national challenge.

“We need to see nationally consistent support measures, including the return of the Leasing Code of Conduct and flexibilities in the Fair Work Act, that were all highly successful in supporting businesses through the first wave of the pandemic last year,” he said.

NSW recorded 199 new cases today, and Queensland 16.

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