It is no lie that WA continues to fall behind the 8 ball, with a constant lag as bad as our “NBN”, we struggle to follow our eastern neighbours. Surfacing once again in the media is the push for WA to deregulate retail trading hours as the Liberal party creates a new plan of action. Unfortunately, due to the labour party and its undying desire to serve the people, it seems like WA is not going to get a whiff of what the future smells like.
To put things into perspective, reduced regulation is good for consumers. Surveys are consistently showing that most West Australians want more choice of shopping hours. The benefits for the shoppers include greater convenience, wider choice of goods and services and lower prices.
So how does this benefit me as a business owner?
- Reducing restrictions on shopping hours will boost employment and consumer spending
- Make WA a more attractive tourist destination
- Flexible trading hours
- Convenient shopping hours for consumers leads to growth
- Meeting customers’ demands builds rapport
How will I survive as a small business owner?
The argument is that if big retailers receive extended trading hours then our small businesses will suffer. But this has already been trialled all across Australia and there has been no reputable evidence to show or support this. There have been various trials across WA rural towns including Bunbury, Kalgoorlie and soon to be Geraldton. According to Mayor Ron Yuryevich of Kalgoorlie in an ABC interview,
“Basically about 80 to 85 per cent were in favour of continuing the extended shopping hours as a permanent fixture in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder shopping district.”
This decision came after there was a 12 month trial in the region which had a clear outcome in favour of changing the retail trading hours.
But WA continues to sit on the fence.
In 2011 the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA was completely on-board for the extended retail trading hours, as John Langoulant Chief Executive at the time said that reduced regulation is very beneficial for not only the consumer but businesses as well.
“We should not confuse such self – interest with the community interest. No independent review, in any state, has ever concluded that maintaining trading hour’s regulation is in the interests of the broader community”, he said.
“Above all, it is about fairness and freedom of choice, and getting the Government out of the micro-management of our markets and lifestyles.”
Fast forward 6 years to 2017 and we are still faced with the same thorn in our bottoms, the ‘lazy’ state as we are referred to, continues to live up to its name. The CCI has not changed its views as Chief Executive Deidre Willmott said business owners should be able to decide when they open.
So why is the government holding us back? With positive trialled results and many benefits to extended retail hours, the CCI completely backing the notion, WA as a state still remains in the shadows compared to the rest of Australia. Here is currently what is happening if you have not already caught up on the media hype, how do you feel as a business owner and are we making the right decision?