07/12/2004 - 21:00

Political will lacking over trading hours

07/12/2004 - 21:00


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WESTERN Australia’s current trading hours regime is an impost to business, according to several big names in the State’s retail landscape.

Political will lacking over trading hours

WESTERN Australia’s current trading hours regime is an impost to business, according to several big names in the State’s retail landscape.

Former Marlows managing director Ray Della-Polina said the current system was protecting the interests of a minority.

 “The problem I have is that the people who are spending so much money fighting this already have extended trading hours,” he told WA Business News.

“I’m critical of the Labor Government and the Opposition because neither of them has the guts to make a decision when they know that it should be done. It should be one in all in.

“In the early days we couldn’t open but other small automotive businesses could. They changed the laws to have exemptions like hardware and automotive so then we could.

“When we changed we had a few people who didn’t want to work Sundays but it ended up getting much easier because when we employed people they knew upfront we were seven days.

“Some people preferred working the weekend so that they would get days off during the week.”

Robyn Ahern believes retailers should have the choice to open when they wanted to. She said deregulation was inevitable but that there needed to be changes made to more than just opening hours.

“Stand-alone shops can choose to open when they want to but those in shopping centres have to open when the centre does,” Ms Ahern said.

“Some of the other issues need to be looked at so people don’t go out of business.

“The ideal would be to look at things like retail tenancy so people can decide to open or not.”

Former Woolworths chief execu-tive Reg Clairs was Queensland State manager when that State’s trading hours were partially deregulated.

Mr Clairs disagrees with the idea that deregulating trading hours pose an economic burden to smaller independent grocers.

“Most of them have improved their businesses,” he said.

“They’re just greedy and selfish because they want to trade while stopping everybody else.”

Liberty Liquor developer Patrick Stephenson said liquor stores, while under a different legislation, should also be allowed to trade extended hours.

Mr Stephenson said WA’s liquor laws were too restrictive and hindered business.

“It should be loosened up. I don’t believe in the argument that you can’t compete with Woolworths and Coles at all,” he said. 

“You need to adapt the business.

“In New South Wales and Victoria there is Sunday trading and stores in WA are losing out on 8 to 9 per cent of turnover because it’s the second highest trading day.

“The only way to compete is to free up the liquor act because you create new entrepreneurs who can have a go at it, but at the moment people are shut down because it’s too hard to start something new and then compete.

“I’d like to get into it again but not as long as it’s so restrictive.”


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