The next hurdle facing Geoff Gallop

IF the State Government decides that it will make major changes to WA’s retail trading hours it will need to gain support from the Opposition and/or WA’s minor political parties.

The Liberal Party has not yet revealed a policy on the issue but recent comments by both Opposition leader Colin Barnett and deputy leader Dan Sullivan suggest a fair amount of persuasion is needed if the Government intends to get changes through Parliament.

Mr Barnett said he believed extending trading hours should happen over a period of time and that full deregulation in the current market place would not foster competition.

“I think the issue is the continuing dominance of the major national chains and the higher levels of that market dominance. The biggest issue is not trading hours but the market power.”

Mr Sullivan told WA Business News that he would not support deregulation under the current industrial relations system.

“There is no way I would deregulate retail trading hours with the current industrial relations laws in this State. Even people that support it say you couldn’t do it now without hurting small business,” he said.

Greens (WA) has stated it is against extending WA’s trading hours and it is understood that One Nation also supports the status quo.

A WA Business News survey on the issue has found that retail trading hours are a voting issue for small business operators.

JMG Marketing canvassed 100 small business owners (40 retail, 60 non-retail) and asked proprietors whether they would vote for Labor if the Premier decided against deregulating trading hours.

The results show 44 per cent would vote for Labor, 35 per cent said no and 21 per cent were undecided.

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