21/02/2012 - 14:01

Barnett moves to lift Sunday trading ban

21/02/2012 - 14:01


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Perth shoppers may finally have the freedom of those in other capital cities, with a Sunday trading bill introduced to state parliament today.

Currently, only special trading precincts in the central business district and suburban Fremantle, Midland, Armadale and Joondalup are allowed to trade on Sundays.

But under proposed amendments to the Retail Trading Hours Act, all metropolitan general retail shops, including supermarkets and department stores, will be allowed to open on Sundays between 11am and 5pm.

Commerce and Small Business Minister Simon O'Brien said the changes were part of the government's ongoing campaign to relax restrictions on trading hours and create a more competitive retail sector.

"Since 2009, the government has introduced late-night trading on weekdays and increased and expanded special shopping precincts to create more opportunities for consumers and traders," he said.

"The precincts proved there was a demand for shopping on Sundays and public holidays but gave traders within these precincts an unfair advantage over their competitors outside.

"These amendments will address those concerns and produce a fairer and more equitable marketplace to benefit both traders and consumers," he said.

Retail associations and industry groups have reacted positively to the move by the state government, but were uniform in asking for further deregulation to take place.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Western Australia said the move was a positive step but that more needs to be done to secure fluid trading hours legislation.

The CCI said that after decades of campaigning the “battle for seven day trading had been one”.

However the CCI criticised remaining complexities and unnecessary rules that dictate what retailers can and can’t sell and argued they should be removed.

The Retail Traders’ Association of WA said the legislation had been long-awaited and the successful trial of Special Trading Precincts had proven overwhelming public support for 7-day trading.

The RTA also criticised the lack of total deregulation and called on the state government to remove all inconsistencies in state trading legislation.

The bill will also give Minister O’Brien the discretion to allow retail shops to trade on public holidays, except Christmas, Good Friday and ANZAC Day.

A recent backflip by the Labor Opposition means there should be enough numbers to pass the Lower House bill, though the earliest it can be passed in the Upper House is August.


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