Western Australian businesses overwhelmingly disagree with the State Government’s archaic decision to reduce shopping hours this Christmas, with 70 per cent of WA businesses calling for shops to be allowed to open the usual extended hours. This follows consumer polling that showed 74 per cent of West Australians also disagreed with the Government’s decision.

The survey of businesses, conducted by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCI), asked almost 230 WA businesses their view on the Government’s decision to reduce extended trading by 30 per cent this Christmas and its impact on local retailers.

Small businesses overwhelmingly support usual extended Christmas trading hours, with 66 per cent of respondents disagreeing with the Government’s decision. Sixty per cent of all businesses surveyed believe it will push shoppers online, including 58 per cent of small businesses.

Seventy-two per cent of all businesses, including 73 per cent of small businesses, believe local WA retailers are suffering because they can’t compete with online shops that aren’t restricted by the State Government’s retail trading laws.

A clear majority of West Australians have said they disagree with the Government’s decision to reduce extended trading hours over the Christmas period and this has now been backed by WA business, including an overwhelming majority of small businesses.

It’s time the Government listened to West Australian consumers and businesses instead of imposing big brother government. It’s time they listened to the people who voted for them and the businesses that create jobs in WA.

Youth unemployment in WA is the highest in the country, unemployment among retail workers is higher than any other sector and retail trade is flat. Eighty per cent of younger West Australians support usual extended retail trading hours at Christmas – the highest support of any demographic. It’s no coincidence that the demographic with the highest support for extra hours, which creates jobs, also has the highest unemployment rate.

The priority in WA must be supporting our local retailers to compete, create new jobs and add additional hours of work by letting West Australians decide when they want to shop.

The extensive list of independent reviews already conducted have provided a resounding and indisputable message – stop intervening at the expense of WA jobs.

As the Government’s own independent Economic Regulation Authority has stated: ‘Rather than being of benefit, regulation of trading hours imposes considerable costs on customers and those retailers with restricted trading hours’.

CCI is calling on the State Government to immediately review their decision to restrict extended Christmas retail trading hours and extend it to the same trading hours that were approved last year.