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Myer apologises for NDIS remarks after social media backlash

Major retailer Myer has been forced to apologise in the wake of comments by their CEO Bernie Brookes criticising the Government’s proposed National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Myer1Yesterday Brookes told the media that a $350 increase in the Medicare levy would hurt retailers and that the levy: “is something they would have spent with us”.

This morning the retailer has issued an statement apologising to those offended by the CEO’s remarks but standing by them. In the statement Brookes said: “I apologise to those who may have been offended or hurt by the comments I made.”

He then went on to explain that Myer would prefer the NDIS was not funded through new taxes. “As a business, we are sensitive to imposts on the consumer by the government as this adds to negative consumer sentiment and that adversely impacts sales, profit and jobs. Ideally we would like any government initiative to be funded within the revenue stream it has, rather than through a new or additional tax take,” he said.

“However, I do apologise to those who have taken offence to my comments about an increase in taxes,”

The statement came after a further social media backlash arose after a comment on its Facebook page which it attempted to “clarify comments made yesterday”.

Myer goes on to say:

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.

Ideally we would like any government initiative to be funded within the revenue stream it has, rather than through a new or additional tax take.

Thank you for the opportunity to give some substance to comments perhaps taken out of context.

The clarification drew swift criticism from online users many of whom are calling for a consumer boycott of the retailer.

As of 10.30am the post has drawn more than 500 Facebook comments and the phrase Myer is trending nationally on Twitter.

User Caroline Hughes typified much of the backlash writing: “Myer why even comment? As a loyal customer I too feel I can no longer shop there!!”

Briony Beaufond also posted: “As a parent of two children with disabilities you have lost my business and respect.”

Myer’s Facebook page, which is mainly used for promotions is continuing to be inundated by NDIS supporters.

The company has also suggest the media had taken his comments out of context. In the statement apologising for the remark Brookes said: “To clarify and give substances to comments perhaps taken out of context, we are absolutely supportive of any well constructed support for those with disabilities and that view seems reflected across the community.”

“I want to make it clear that Myer supports the introduction of an NDIS.  Like many Australian we support a scheme like the NDIS that will support the needs of individuals , families and carers for those with a disability.”

Nic Christensen

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