NEDLANDS resident and Belmont small business operator Wally Daly says levelling the field for independent traders facing the power of supermarket chains and franchises requires more than just changing penalty rates.
“My argument on penalty rates is if we are getting the top of the cream in sales, we are prepared to share it with our employees,” Mr Daly told the Western Suburbs Weekly.
He has owned Belvidere Street IGA for 24 years, and said he “did not mind” paying time-and-a-half on Sundays, and double time-and-a-half on public holidays, when “we are doing well”.
What concerned him and other small business owners, was trading hours being altered “at times by the whim of the minister”, and the decline in government payroll tax revenue caused by the use of automatic tellers at Coles and Woolworths.
Small business owners also want their inability to be a corporate body changed to allow them to secure enterprise agreements for their few workers.
“What small shops need is for State Awards to be integrated with Enterprise Agreements, but the agreements are now affected by the no-disadvantage test, which says there cannot be a loss of penalties or benefits,” Mr Daly said.
A Fair Work Commission report on penalty rates due last September may now not come out until next year, and Mr Daly said the Commission should be left to “do its job” because it would have some “far-reaching effects”.
“Premier Colin Barnett and any future State leader should think seriously about reinstating the State’s Small Business Advisory Committee so they can be informed on what small businesses want because, as John Howard said, we are the lifeblood of the economy,” Mr Daly said.