Perth businesses will be forced to close their doors this coming Queen’s Birthday public holiday on Monday, while online retailers and only small and special retail stores get to remain open.
CCIWA recently wrote to the Department of Commerce seeking extended trading hours for general retail shops in the Perth metropolitan area during public holidays and the Christmas/New Year period.
The McGowan Government is yet to announce their decision on the Christmas/New Year period, but businesses and consumers shouldn’t hold their breath, after they knocked back CCI’s application for extended retail trading for this Monday.
CCI Director of Advocacy Cath Langmead says trading hours on the Queen’s Birthday public holiday have been extended for the past two years from 11am to 5pm to 8am to 6pm.
“Extended trading hours are good for the public, who have more time to shop, good for business, who can benefit from the increased activity, and good for workers, who will have the opportunity to earn more money,” she says.
“Almost 140,000 West Australians are underemployed and want more work – this simply makes that worse.”
According to 2014 Australian Bureau of Statistic figures, in the two years since the introduction of Sunday trading in the Perth metropolitan area, 20,700 new retail jobs were created which represented a 15.8 per cent increase and was more than three times the growth rate in retail jobs across Australia.
“After so much progress, the business community is shocked that the Government would take this backwards step,” Langmead says.
“WA continues to have the worst trading hours in the country.
“At a time when the McGowan Government is focused on job creation and trying to make WA a global tourism hotspot, this decision only puts us further behind.
“Online retailers don’t have to open at 11am and close at 5pm, and nor should our bricks and mortar retailers.
“The 1995 Hilmer Review recommended the full deregulation of trading hours across the country. WA failed at three attempts to make those changes and lost $23 million in incentive payments. We can’t afford to let this continue.”
CCI is calling on the McGowan Government to immediately reverse their decision to help support WA businesses ability to compete, and consumers access to stores when they want to, not when the government dictates, Langmead says.
“We are also calling on the Government to guarantee that retail trading hours will be extended, at least as much as last year, during this year's Christmas/New Year period to give business and their employees certainty,” she says.
“Business owners should decide when they open for business, not the Government.”