20/10/2015 - 13:59

Govt details new retail trading laws

20/10/2015 - 13:59

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New retail trading laws for WA will affect businesses as varied as Bunnings, Masters, stallholders at short-term markets and even shops on Rottnest Island as the state government moves to widen trading hours and remove anomalies in current regulations.

New retail trading laws for WA will affect businesses as varied as Bunnings, Masters, stallholders at short-term markets and even shops on Rottnest Island as the state government moves to widen trading hours and remove anomalies in current regulations.

The proposed changes will allow general retail shops to open at 7am on weekdays and Saturdays, and close an extra hour later, at 6pm, on Saturdays.

Changes to the act also allow 'domestic development shops', such as hardware stores, to broaden their range or products to include items such as decorative light fittings and all types of cooling and heating equipment.

For Woolworths subsidiary Masters, it will mean earlier trading hours from Monday to Saturday but it still won't be able to open earlier than 11am on Sundays, whereas its rival Bunnings can still open from 7am on Sundays as it is classed as a domestic development store.

“This change will benefit our Western Australian stores and customers," Masters managing director Matt Tyson said.

"The extended hours assist in creating a more level playing field and we welcome the opportunity to better compete in the home improvement market.

“Healthy competition means better prices and product innovation, and we think that’s a good thing for consumers."

Commerce Minister Michael Mischin said the easing of retail trading restrictions would provide more convenience, choice and flexibility for consumers, while promoting competition and boosting employment opportunities in the retail sector.

“These reforms will also address anomalies which currently exist in the hardware retail market by adjusting trading hours and expanding the list of products that can be sold by this category of store under the act,” Mr Mischin said.

“Other reforms include exempting Rottnest Island from the act to allow shops on the resort island to trade at any time to be able to better cater for the needs of tourists, and removing the redundant special holiday resort provisions for Rockingham and Wanneroo.

“Another great step forward is removing the requirement for stallholders at short-term markets from having to apply for a certificate to trade outside normal hours, reducing costly and time-consuming red tape for those businesses and for government.”

WA Independent Grocers Association said in a statement that the state government's decision to again change retail trading hours broke Premier Colin Barnett pledge to extend Sunday trading hours by two hours in the morning to 9am only if the Liberal government is elected for a third term in 2017.

WAIGA treasurer, Robert Halvorsen, said his members were let down by the government's unheralded move to further extend weekday and Saturday trading hours throughout WA.

"Over the last 12 months the government has led everybody to believe that it only planned to correct trading hours anomalies affecting Masters in the hardware sector. In light of this, other retailers have got on with running and planning their businesses believing that no changes would occur before the 2017 state election.

"These proposed changes have been dropped on the industry without any consultation or forewarning, particularly to those most adversely affected," he said.

Mr Halvorsen said that the Liberal Party had not sought or presented any evidence to support the viability of 7.00am openings for small retailers or additional trading on
Saturday afternoons.

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