I was dismayed to read recently the reaction from Australian retail leaders to the announcement of increases to the Medicare levy to fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
My dismay was both personal and professional. It is patently clear that the general community and both side of politics are resounding supportive of a scheme to support people with disabilities, their families and their carers. The NDIS (now referred to as DisabilityCare Australia) is a long overdue response to the need for people with disabilities to have the necessary resources to function in our society with the added potential for both greater respect and productivity. While I'm not an expert, it is a no-brainer.
Having worked in the retail advocacy space for several years and in public relations for almost 20 years, I couldn't fathom the rationale for leaders in the retail sector to cast any doubt on the need for the Australian community to fund this scheme. While times are no doubt tough in some pockets of the retail industry, retailers and retail advocates must always keep upper most in their thoughts, that they are members of the Australian community. As members of the Australian community there is an undeniable duty of care to support those who need it.
There is also a need to understand what is important to their customers. Customers are human beings who, largely, deeply care about their environment and role as good citizens.
This is why on a personal (human) level and on a professional (strategic) level, I cannot see the justification to cry poor on behalf of consumers with the increase in the Medicare levy. My advice?
Retail leaders need to stand back from just looking at what they think will attack the hip pockets of their customers and look at what hits the heart. That is genuine public relations.