27/05/2003 - 22:00

Lobbyists offer their approach to problem

27/05/2003 - 22:00


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Harvey Norman chairman Gerry Harvey is a strong supporter of a deregulated retail trading market and is bemused that WA remains a restrictive trading environment.

Lobbyists offer their approach to problem

Harvey Norman chairman Gerry Harvey is a strong supporter of a deregulated retail trading market and is bemused that WA remains a restrictive trading environment.

However, while Mr Harvey visited WA to lobby the Court Government he has not made the trip to see Dr Gallop in the latest round of debate.

Mr Harvey said he believed deregulation was inevitable and that he was fed up with proving the deregulation case year in and year out. 

“I’ve been over and I spoke to Richard Court. He had the view that he thought it [deregulation] was the way to go. He had one of his ministers, Doug Shave, look at it. We talked to him and I thought he was impossible to deal with.”

Mr Harvey packed his case and went home but that is not to say he has remained quiet on the issue.

WA Independent Grocers Association president John Cummings has met with Geoff Gallop, Eric Ripper, Clive Brown, and John Kobelke. He has also met with Colin Barnett and Dan Sullivan and its members have sent letters to their local parliamentary member.

Retail Traders Association manager Brian Reynolds said his organisation had met with several ministers and that this debate has been on its agenda for decades.

“Our position has always been that it is inappropriate for governments to intervene in the relationship between business and consumers,” he said.

Its submission paper to government calls for complete deregulation.

Coles Myers supermarkets state manager Peter Spiers and WA external affairs manager John Clune have been joined by head office executives to meet with various Labor and Liberal politicians. They have met with John Kobelke and staff members for Eric Ripper and Clive Brown.

Shopping Centre of Australia executive director Milton Cockburn has spent so much time travelling to Australia’s last two ‘regulated’ states in the past two years that he is apt to interchange WA for South Australia or SA for WA unwittingly.

During  his many visits to WA he has met with all members of the ministerial committee, Labor back-benchers, Liberal small business spokesman Dan Sullivan and One Nation MLCs.

Mr Cockburn’s key message for politicians is that deregulating retail hours was not some bold social experiment.

Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association (WA) general secretary Joe Bullock said he had spoken with the ministerial committee and had presented the union’s case against the total deregulation of trading hours. He said the major concern the union had with the Sunday trading was that it would eventually undermine the industry award structure.

Mr Bullock said there were hidden costs associated with the deregulation of retail trading hours and that an independent economic impact study was required before the Government made any decisions.

Woolworths chief executive Roger Corbett said the company had spent a long time pushing for deregulation in WA.  Mr Corbett has met with Premier Dr Geoff Gallop with whom he said he had ‘an interesting and helpful discussion.’  Mr Corbett would not reveal who else he had met with other than to say he had met with various people in the state and had discussions in private.

Woolworths state manager Len de Nooyar, retail support manager Brian Stokes and Woolworths consultant Michael Kent have also spoken to the whole spectrum of ministers and members of the opposition party.


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