CCI calls for change to WA shopping hours — including 8am opening time on Sundays — to boost WA economy

The West Australian
Crowds rush into Myer as part of Boxing Day sales in the city. WA’s peak business group is calling for change to increase shopping hours on weekends.
Crowds rush into Myer as part of Boxing Day sales in the city. WA’s peak business group is calling for change to increase shopping hours on weekends. Credit: Iain Gillespie/The West Australian

WA’s peak business group has called for massive changes to weekend trading hours, including an 8am Sunday opening in Perth.

In a heavy-hitting pre-Budget submission to the McGowan Government, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA says the changes are needed as part of WA’s COVID-19 response to rising unemployment tipped to reach 10 per cent.

However, the CCIWA proposal butts heads with powerful union the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association, which says that a recent survey of its metropolitan Perth general retail shop members showed they were strongly opposed.

In its submission to the WA Government, CCIWA says:

SUNDAY morning trading in Perth should begin at 8am and finish at 5pm, rather than the current 11am start time.

SATURDAY trading should be aligned to weekday hours, meaning shops could open at 8am and close at 9pm, rather than shut at 5pm.

AXE restrictions on what a business can and can’t sell.

FORMALLY enact public holiday trading extensions to let shops open from 8am to 6pm, rather than 11am to 5pm.

“The current crisis has created additional imperatives for retail trading reform,” the CCIWA submission says.

“COVID-19 is going to leave the State with an unemployment scarring, so it is critical we use all available options to create jobs. Businesses need as much support and flexibility to earn as much revenue as they can, as young people in particular need as many opportunities as possible to work.”

CCIWA said online retail growth and the opening of Perth’s Costco was removing shoppers from local shopping precincts, “hurting small cafes, restaurants, newsagents and general retail outlets”.

Crowds at Culture Kings during boxing day sales.
Crowds at Culture Kings during boxing day sales. Credit: Iain Gillespie/The West Australian

“We need to provide consumers with as much reason as possible to visit their local shopping centre or precinct. Increased foot traffic benefits smaller operators,” CCIWA told the Government.

Ex-Liberal premier Colin Barnett made big changes to Perth’s retail trading hours when he won government in 2008. But unlike regional centres, Perth retailers are still bound by restrictive government shopping rules.

Prior to the 2017 election, Mr Barnett had promised to further deregulate Perth shopping hours.

So far, WA Labor Premier Mark McGowan has shown no appetite to change Perth’s shopping hours, a position in sync with the SDAWA.

WA Premier Mark McGowan, right.
WA Premier Mark McGowan, right. Credit: Simon Santi/The West Australian

SDAWA branch secretary Peter O’Keefe said this week 2100 Perth metropolitan retail shop workers had responded to a survey about shopping hours.

He said 58 per cent wanted no change to Sunday opening times. And he said 84.3 per cent opposed any changes to the Monday to Friday opening time of 8am, and 89.1 per cent opposed any change to the weekday closing time of 9pm.

He said nearly 90 per cent opposed changes to Saturday opening times, and nearly 70 per cent opposed changes to Saturday’s 5pm close.

“With this survey the majority (of SDA members) have again told their union that they do not want change and that will remain the SDA position until such time as the membership decides to change it,” he said.

WA Commerce Minister John Quigley said yesterday “there are no plans to make any further changes to shopping hours”.

“As it stands, smaller retail shops are allowed to open 24/7,” Mr Quigley said. “There are no plans to make any further changes to shopping hours. We went to the election with a plan to diversify the State’s economy and create jobs.”