Western Australia’s resources sector has applauded the now bi-partisan support for Sunday trading, saying the added vibrancy from more open shops may help attract more migrants from the eastern states.
The Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia’s chief executive, Reg Gillard, said despite the state’s economic prosperity, the majority of people entering WA were from overseas, not interstate.
The latest Australia Bureau of Statistics data showed just 11 per cent of WA’s population growth of 55,838 people in 2011 came from the eastern states.
Net overseas migration contributed 55 per cent, while natural increase accounted for 33 per cent of the growth.
“The ability to shop on a Sunday isn’t going to turn that around overnight but anything that adds to the vibrancy of the state adds to our ability to attract and retain workers,” Mr Gillard said.
Mr Gillard said attracting more workers from the eastern states would be crucial for Western Australia, with an extra 33,000 skilled workers needed this year to work on the $300 billion worth of resources developments committed or under way.
“To ensure the WA resources sector remains the powerhouse of the nation, we need anything that helps attract and retain people in the industry,” he said.
Newly elected state Labor Leader Mark McGowan announced the policy change yesterday, possibly paving the way for shops to be open on Sundays in the lead-up to next year’s state election.
The business sector has welcomed the change in tack by Mr McGowan, with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry saying Sunday trading would be a shot in the arm for a struggling sector.
“This change will also help create more jobs for workers who want the flexibility of working on weekends, or existing employees looking for more work,” CCI chief executive James Pearson said.
Retail Traders’ Association of WA executive director Wayne Spencer said the support was long overdue, with retailers and consumers alike firmly behind changes to the state’s “archaic” trading hours legislation.