The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) welcomed the Productivity Commission report and Minister Bowen’s response recommending changes to consumer law as the Rudd Government begins the overhaul of red tape and regulation burdening Australian business.

ARA’s executive director Richard Evans says he hopes moves towards national consumer laws will trigger a more comprehensive program of red-tape rationalisation, which will assist improving business productivity.

"We hope this is the first step in standardising a lot of archaic state laws that impact on retailing such as retail leasing, payroll tax and the laws governing occupational health and safety, but there are a myriad other areas that could be standardised. And in this time of economic uncertainty, business needs to see the Federal Government leading to ease bureaucratic burden," says Evans.

He believes it’s now up to the state governments to see the bigger picture and stop being overly protective of their boundaries and self interest.

“States have an opportunity of creating business opportunities by reducing red tape and standardising their dealing with business, it’s in the national interest for them to do so. The report is an encouraging step in the right direction.”