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READER RESPONSE - Cave in on Sunday

JOE Poprzeczny’s State Scene column of June 26 mentioned how I started the first Sunday trading push in WA.

I must say I am appalled that 20 years on there is still no resolution to the issue, due entirely to government inaction.

My Sunday trading efforts (see above) and the attendant media rumpus caused Premier Burke to hold an enquiry into trading hours. The enquiry concluded with Commissioner Kelly recommending that there should be an orderly dismantling of shopping restrictions.

Unfortunately, due to aggressive lobbying by a small band of traders protecting their lucrative trading monopoly, a succession of gutless governments has thrown the problem into the too-hard basket.

It is pretty rich of the supermarket owners to squeal that Coles and Woolworth’s will force them out of business. Since gaining their government-enforced Sunday trading monopoly, these same traders have forced many delis and independent butcher shops out of business.

Dr Gallop wants to preserve Sundays for family activities. This sort of paternalistic gibberish makes me wonder if he has employed the Iraqi Information Minister to write his media statements. He wants to save people from the perils of Sunday shopping while happily allowing access to gambling at the casino 24 hours a day, 363 days a year. Is shopping a greater evil than round-the-clock drinking and gambling?

Dr Gallop has hounded and vilified Julian Grill and Brian Burke, and foreshadowed a special law to curtail their legitimate lobbying activities.

Then, paralysed by fear of electoral threats from a vested-interest lobby group, he consigns WA to a trading time warp. In addition to the cost to freedom to trade and to shop, his actions will precipitate a financial cost of up to $70 million annually in lost Federal grants.

Where will the cost be made up? By a further increase in stamp duty? My industry – business broking and real estate – is already groaning under the burden of a 30 per cent increase in that most iniquitous of taxes, thanks to Dr Gallop’s broken electoral promises.

Show some leadership, Dr Gallop, and lay down a timetable to dismantle the archaic trading laws. Nobody expects it to be done overnight, but if plenty of notice is given, then the affected parties can plan accordingly.

Ken Schultz

managing director

Schultz Partners Pty Ltd

Osborne Park, WA

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