Independent grocers to campaign against extended trading hours in WA

Posted by James Ferre on 16th June 2009

Western Australia’s independent grocery sector is embarking on a new campaign to convince parliament not to introduce weeknight trading legislation.

The campaign began with a full page advertisement in today’s West Australian (June 16) highlighting the fact that extended hours will contradict statements made by the Premier about honouring the daylight saving referendum outcome and go directly against the results of the trading hours referendum held a little over four years ago.

Independent Grocers Association President John Cummings said that extended trading would not see any significant changes, as Myer, David Jones and Harvey Norman would continue to shut their doors by 6.00pm in the city and 5.30pm elsewhere in the metropolitan area. He suggested the only real beneficiaries would be the major supermarket chains.

“These stores (Myer, DJs, Harvey Norman) can already trade until 7.00pm in the city, but like their Sydney and Melbourne counterparts they are shut by 6.00pm,” Mr Cummings noted. “Furthermore, the Premier’s comments about industry consensus do not stack up. The pharmacists, newsagents and corner store associations have been telling the Premier that they do not want it. Consensus has not been reached on this matter.”

A little over four years ago almost 59 per cent of West Australians voted against weeknight trading hours.

“The Premier must explain to the 648,000 people who voted no to weeknight trading how he and his party can honour one referendum result, but not another. And the politicians who supported this move need to stand up and be counted as well,” Mr Cummings said. “More than 95 per cent of Perth retailers can currently open their shops after 5.30pm anyway, but they choose not to for the very same reason as the big stores elsewhere in Australia. There simply isn’t enough weeknight trade to warrant the extra wages and operating costs to keep the doors open.”

“What’s the point other than to give two major national grocery chains – Coles and Woolworths – the opportunity of increasing their market domination?”

Mr Cummings claimed that weeknight trading was a Trojan horse for Sunday trading which he predicted would occur before the next general election.

“Western Australians should ask who is really driving all of this. Is it elected representatives or are they simply being herded about by the big national retailing corporations who were also the pushing the daylight saving issue as well?”