Myer Slammed Over Disability Levy Comments

The backlash against Myer, after it remarked that the NDIS levy would harm business, demonstrates the power of social media.

Myer has attempted to “clarify” its position on the National Insurance Disability Scheme Medicare levy following a backlash to comments yesterday from chief executive Bernie Brookes.

Mr Brookes yesterday told a Macquarie Securities conference that the proposed increase to the levy would hurt the department store chain’s sales. He said the levy, expected to cost the average household an extra $350 a year, was “something they would have spent with us” and “was not good for our customers and may have an impact”.

Many used social media to comment, with a typical response from comedian Wil Anderson, reading: “Myer worries that disability levy will hurt sales. They are right. I am not going to shop at Myer after reading those comments.”

Earlier today Myer clarified its position with a Facebook post, saying that Mr Brookes’ comments had been “perhaps taken out of context”.

It stated: “Like everyone we are absolutely supportive of any well constructed support for those with disabilities and that view seems reflected across the community. As a business however, we remain sensitive to imposts on the consumer by the government generally, for whatever purpose, as this adds to negative consumer sentiment and that adversely impacts sales, profit and jobs.”

Several hundred people have now commented in response to the clarification. “I don’t think it is appropriate or professional for your company to be making political statements. I don’t feel it will be good for your consumer sentiment. Disappointing Myer,” wrote Rachel Cooke. Belinda Sandilands wrote: “I can’t say that the first thing that I thought of when I heard about the tax was, oh bum, less money for me to spend on frivolous items at Myer!”

“Myer, I’m a long time shopper, but I have a son with a disability and a brother with a disability,” wrote Melissa Brotherson Clarke on Myer’s Facebook page. “You’ll never ever see my money again. The Australian way is that we all support each other, including disabled people. Obviously that’s not your way.”

Read the full story.... (off-site)
National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

Angus Holland

The Age

Date published:
Thu 2nd May, 2013