Voters in marginal seats opposed to extended trading hours for retail giants

VOTERS in the marginal electorates of Forrestfield, Swan Hills and West Swan have said no to proposed increases in shop trading hours for retail giants.

The West Australian Opinion Polls (WAOP) survey found 61 per cent of respondents considered current trading hours are “about right”.

The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association WA (SDA), representing about 23,000 retail workers in WA, recently held two polls in nine Perth electorates about the proposed change.

Latest results drawn from 750 voters last month come after the November poll last year of 700 voters.

The most recent survey found 56 per cent of voters did not support opening an hour earlier on weekdays and Saturdays, from 8am to 7am for big retail stores.

Only 39 per cent of those surveyed supported the proposal.

Some 53 per cent of people said longer shop trading hours would not create more jobs.

Almost 90 per cent said longer opening hours would give too much power to retail giants like Coles and Woolworths.

Many people expressed concern about the unfair impact on retail staff.

Under State Government legislation introduced last November, retail giants would be clear to open from 7am, not 8am on weekdays and Saturdays.

SDA WA Secretary Peter O’Keeffe said giving big retailers greater power would cost jobs.

“Experience has shown that giving the big retailers more market share comes at the expense of smaller retailers, who end up losing business and putting off staff,” he said.

“History shows that these jobs are not replaced by positions with big retailers who stretch their workforces to the limit, instead of hiring new people.”

Mr O’Keeffe said the SDA would relentlessly fight on behalf of retail workers and the West Australian community to stop the proposed changes.

“If we want a vibrant and diverse retail sector that provides real choice in places to shop and real opportunities to local producers, then we should think very carefully about giving the big retailers any more power.

“Retail workers have already suffered major impacts on their family lives with the introduction of weekday late night trading in 2010 and Sunday trading in 2012; when is enough, enough?”

Mr O’Keeffe previously called for any proposed changes to trading hours to be the subject of a full public Parliamentary inquiry.

“We want an inquiry where the costs of both previous and proposed changes on the whole community can be considered, along with the benefits delivered to big retailers,” he said.

The other marginal seats recently polled included Belmont, Perth, Morley, Balcatta, Mount Lawley and Bicton.