Businesses across Australia are preparing for an expected boost in trade following this week’s verdict on the marriage equality postal survey.
With almost 62 per cent of respondents voting in support of changing the Marriage Act, Federal Parliament has already begun debating a bill to implement the change.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has publicly promised to have same-sex marriage legal by Christmas this year.
Many pubs, restaurants and bottle shops nationally saw a huge surge in normal weekday trade as revellers celebrated the historic vote on Wednesday, but that is likely to be only the start of an economic bonanza once the law change takes effect.
In September, ANZ forecast that marriage equality would produce an economic boost of “at least $650 million in the first 12 months”, based on an average wedding spend of $54,000.
Some people dismissed ANZ’s prediction, saying that most of that money would have been spent elsewhere regardless.
However, others pointed to the large number of Australian couples seeking to get married overseas – particularly in New Zealand – as evidence that much of that money is already being lost to countries where same-sex marriage is legal, meaning a law change could stem those losses.
“While the macroeconomic implications of this [$650 million] sum are minuscule, for some sectors the impact will be more meaningful,” ANZ senior economist Cherelle Murphy said.
The obvious beneficiaries are the wedding industry itself – including florists, venues, caterers, clothing retailers, jewellers, stationers, chauffeurs and photographers. Yet the impending legalisation of same-sex marriage may also deliver a boost to other industries as well.
Westpac-owned St George Bank released a new report on the financial wellbeing of Australia’s LGBTQI community, which revealed noticeable disparities compared with the general population.
“While there’s been no shortage of noise around the same-sex marriage debate, one important factor has been missed: the LGBTQI community’s financial needs and habits,” said St George general manager Ross Miller.
“These findings are a strong reminder for the finance and banking industry that there is still more work to do to ensure an even playing field for LGBTQI Australians.”
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