16/06/2009 - 15:43

Premier backs 9pm retail trading

16/06/2009 - 15:43

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Premier Colin Barnett has defied lobbying by independent supermarket owners by announcing today that he would introduce a bill paving the way for retail trading hours to be extended to 9pm on weeknights.

Premier Colin Barnett has defied lobbying by independent supermarket owners by announcing today that he would introduce a bill paving the way for retail trading hours to be extended to 9pm on weeknights.

Mr Barnett will introduce the bill in parliament this week to extend trading hours following a lengthy Liberal Party meeting today.

"Today we have reached a clear, unequivocal Liberal position to support staged deregulation ," Mr Barnett said

"The next logical step in deregulation is weeknight shopping and making that till 9 o'clock.

"That is the Liberal position, it is now up to other members of parliament to determine where they stand."

Mr Barnett stressed that the extended weeknight trading hours will only apply to the Perth metropolitan area.

"It's about choice and freedom of choice for consumers and choice businesses," he said.

"No business will be compelled to open if they don't wish to, and no business will be charged the cost for example of operating a shopping centre if they are not open during that relevant time."

Mr Barnett added that he did not have the support of the National party and would be interested in what the Labor Party will say on the matter.

Without the support of the Nationals, the Liberal Party do not have the numbers to get the bill over the line.

Labor leader Eric Ripper said when the party receives the proposed legislation it will be assessed in due course.

"Consideration will be given to the interests of small business owners, their employees and customers," Mr Ripper said.

Mr Barnett's announcement coincides with the launch today of the WA Independent Grocers Association newspaper advertising campaign opposing changes to retail trading hours.

WAIGA president John Cummings said extended trading would not see any significant changes as Myers, David Jones and Harvey Norman would continue to shut their doors by 6pm in the city and 5:30pm in other areas.

Mr Cummings said that Liberal Party support for weeknight trading directly contradicted statements by the Premier after the daylight saving referendum that the issue should not be raised again for another generation.

"Furthermore the Premier's comments about industry consensus do not stack up," Mr Cummings said.

"The pharmacists, newsagents and corner store associations have been telling the Premier that they do not want it. Consensus has not been reached on this matter."

Four years ago, 59 per cent of Western Australians voted against weeknight trading hours in an ambiguously worded statement, Mr Barnett claims.

"More than 95 per cent of Perth retailers can currently open their shops after 5.30pm anyway, but they choose not to for the very same reason as the big stores elsewhere in Australia," Mr Cummings said.

"There simply isn't enough weeknight trade to warrant the extra wages and operating costs to keep the doors open.

"What's the point other than to give two major national grocery chains - Coles and Woolworths - the opportunity of increasing their market domination?"

Mr Barnett hopes to implement the extended trading hours before Christmas.

 

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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