Stop chipping away at trading hours

25 January, 2017

Tweaks to retail trading laws made by the State Government in December do not go far enough to remove antiquated red tape, says the peak business body Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA.

Changes were made to trading restrictions for petrol stations and short-term markets with Commerce Minister Michael Mischin stating the changes to the Retail Trading Hours Act 1987 would ‘simplify and modernise the law’.

In time for today’s public holiday, CCI Chief Executive Officer Deidre Willmott has again called for full deregulation of WA’s trading hours.

“While business welcomes further reforms to retail trading, what the Western Australian business community really want is for governments to stop chipping away at the edges – Western Australia needs full deregulation of retail trading sooner rather than later,” she says.

“WA still has the most restrictive retail trading laws in the country – business owners face bizarre and antiquated red tape that restricts not only when they sell, but what they sell. This is simply red tape that stifles business activity, hinders job creation and that is totally out-of-step with the needs of a modern economy.” 

Research proves consumers consistently prefer being able to shop outside of regulated trading hours.

As the law still stands, small retail shops can trade whenever they like, but general retail shops can only be open between 8am and 9pm on weekdays and between 11am and 5pm on Sundays and public holidays. Special retail shops can trade between 6am and 11.30pm any day of the year, but are restricted by what they can sell.

“The reforms did not make any changes to limited Sunday trading, which continues to particularly disadvantage working mothers who would no doubt relish the flexibility that extra shopping hours on the weekend would give them – CCI does however welcome the government’s commitment to extend Sunday trading should they win the March state election,” Willmott says.

“Western Australia’s retail trading laws should be fully deregulated to give consumers and business owners’ freedom about when they choose to shop and trade – full deregulation will lower prices for consumers, create convenience and more jobs for local workers, boost economic growth and make Western Australia a more attractive place to live and do business.”

CCI WA has long argued that business owners should decide when they open for business, not governments. This would ultimately create jobs, lower prices and create convenience for both business owners and consumers.