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Push for Extended Sunday Trading Hours

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  • 24th August 2015

Opinion by Peter O'Keeffe.     

Poor old Colin Barnett.  He’s a bit confused of late over the trading hours and penalty rates issues.  Due to a lack of anything resembling a coherent plan for the state’s future, he has instead chosen to bolster his speech to the Liberal Party faithful by attacking worker entitlements and promising more shopping hours.

The trouble is, Colin has it all mixed up.  As quoted on www.abc.net.au he says that the increase in trading hours on Sunday is to “…support small business..”.  Nice one Mr Premier.  Except that small businesses are campaigning against increasing trading hours.  (I think Colin is confusing Coles and Woolworths with small businesses.)  In any case, previous experience with trading hours changes suggests that the one thing that this proposal will not do is benefit small retailers.

In my view, the only positive thing that can be said about Mr Barnett’s proposal is that he is not advocating the complete free-for-all that was endorsed by the Liberal Party’s state conference, and championed by the CCI.  Under such a proposal, there would be no restrictions on trading whatsoever.  Or, to put it in the words of Diedre Wilmott from the CCI, it would prevent “…the Government telling shops when they can and can’t open.”  Yes, that pesky Government.  Next thing they will be determining when licensed premises can and can’t open.  Hang on….

Predictably, Ms Wilmott and the members of the WA Liberal Party, apparently captive as they are to free market ideology, see no reason why the Government should interfere in trading hours.  This is because, as economic rationalists, they (as the joke goes) know the price of everything and the value of nothing.  There is no compelling argument of which I am aware that suggests that this change to Sunday trading is either (a) necessary, (b) strongly supported by the public or (c) likely to provide any economic benefits. (I suspect it will have economic impact, but merely by transferring sales from small to larger retailers.)  As such, I believe it is unnecessary and unwelcome.

Of course, no discussion of trading hours would be complete for the Liberals or the CCI without bemoaning the fact that workers get paid penalties to work on weekends.  Although this concept may be completely alien to those in the Liberal Party and in the CCI, I take the view that SDA members’ weekends are just as precious as those of corporate CEOs and others.  As such, when we give them up, we should be appropriately rewarded.  SDA members are not second class citizens.

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Testimonials

It’s peace of mind, it’s just like ringing a friend and knowing they are there for you plus they know all the answers.  


For us members the organisers are there to help us if we have problems to work through it with the management, then I know exactly what my rights are and that they are being protected  


Being a member of the SDA is important because I'm not good at speaking up so I need assitance to help negotiate on my behalf.  


With the upcoming EBA negotiations it's great to have someone pushing our company for better conditions in my workplace.  



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