BAYSWATER Councillor Chris Cornish claims limitations on trading hours for a retail giant selling home improvement and white goods are unfair and restricts competition.
Cr Cornish said Woolworths-owned Masters Home Improvement had been operating in Bayswater since 2014 on an unfair playing field that disadvantaged customers.
“To limit Masters to opening at 11am on Sundays and public holidays and 8am other days is unfair because Bunnings can open at 6am every day of the year,” he said. “It just doesn’t make sense that Masters does not fit the definition of a ‘hardware and home improvement shop’, which would allow them the extended trading hours.”
A Woolworths spokeswoman said the regulatory anomalies were a result of inconsistencies in the type of goods that a ‘domestic development shop’ could sell under the Retail Trading Hours Regulations 1988.
“As a result, Masters is faced with a major competitive disadvantage as our competitors, who stock a smaller range of products, are able to open earlier and later,” she said.
“Reforming these restrictions would have many benefits, including job creation, with each Masters store in WA already employing around 120 people and injecting around $40 million into the local economy.”
Maylands MLA Lisa Baker said retailers in WA faced a mishmash of conditions.
“This is a ridiculous situation,” she said. “The State Government has failed to deliver urgently needed reform to create a level playing field for retailers.”
Cr Cornish said Masters was having to compete with one hand tied behind its back.
“There has been enough time to fix this inequality,” he said.
Commerce Minister Michael Mischin said the Government had already made significant progress in freeing up retail trading hours, however, the current restrictions on what domestic development stores, such as Bunnings, could sell were onerous.
“The restrictions also prevent similar stores such as Masters from fully competing in this sector,” he said.
“This is an issue that the Government would like to fix and I am already working on legislation to address this issue.”