Wednesday, April 8, 2020

MGA cautions against deregulation of WA trading hours

Western Australia’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) Chief Economist Rick Newnham claims WA has the most restrictive retail trading hours in the nation, but MGA Independent Retailers warns that deregulation of trading hours will have a serious impact on the viability of small businesses throughout the state.

Mr Newnham’s comments followed the release of ABS data revealing that WA’s unemployment spiked to 6.9 per cent in March – the highest unemployment rate in the nation and the highest in the state in 16 years. He attributes the latest spike in unemployment to the state government’s “anti-job policies” including high payroll tax and restrictive trading hours.

According to MGA Independent Retailers, any further deregulation of trading hours in WA will have a serious impact on the viability of small businesses. MGA CEO Jos de Bruin says the calls for deregulation of trading hours might suit the growth of the two giant chains, but family enterprises and private businesses will inevitably suffer heavy financial losses if this happened in WA.

“We are fully aware of the struggle faced by independent retailers to keep their heads above water as they fight to combat the might of the chains,” he said. “MGA strongly supports its 491 WA members in opposing the deregulation of trading hours.

“We have seen Coles and Woolworths gradually expand their power by building more and bigger stores, which in the end just crowd out the little guys to the point of annihilation, all in their own self-interest. Currently, small retailers are able to trade at times that give them a small trading advantage and helps them to survive, but if those times disappear, then so will they.”

MGA Independent Retailers is a National Registered Employer Industry Association, representing independent grocery and liquor retailers in all states and territories.

In WA, MGA’s members trade under a variety of different brand names including; Farmer Jacks, FoodWorks, Supa IGA, IGA, IGA-Xpress, Eziway, Cellarbrations, The Bottle O and Mitre 10 Hardware.

In WA, MGA has 491 members, employing more than 20,000 staff with a sales turnover of $2.8 billion per annum. The independent grocery sector makes a significant contribution to the WA economy and the communities in which they trade.

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