| 17.06,09. 09:06 PM |
Extended trading hour Bill goes to Parliament
June 17, 2009 12:00pm
PREMIER Colin Barnett has introduced the Liberal Party's controversial 9pm weeknight shopping Bill to Parliament.
The Bill aims to amend the Retail Trading Hours Act to allow shops in the Perth metropolitan area to remain open until 9pm on weeknights, up from the present 6pm most nights.
Mr Barnett a short while ago finished the second reading of the Bill to Parliament, which will now be debated.
However, there is no guarantee it will be passed.
The Liberal Party will have its work cut out trying to change the existing legislation, which allows 9pm trading only on Thursday nights and in special tourism zones, as the National Party plans to oppose it, while Labor is undecided.
Labor had previously said it wanted to extend weeknight trading hours only until 7pm.
The Liberals will need Labor support to pass the Bill.
While retail giants Coles and Woolworths have said they would welcome any extension of trading hours, the WA Independent Grocers' Association has slammed the move, saying a WA referendum four years ago had voted it down by almost 60 per cent.
WAIGA president John Cummings said the move would hurt independent retailers and allow Coles and Woolworths to “dominate the market”.
Mr Barnett said Perth had changed since the 2005 referendum, and that retailers wouldn’t be forced to open until 9pm if they didn’t want to.
“The extension to weeknight trading hours is a moderate step that takes account of changes that have come about in urban lifestyles and working hours in the metropolitan area in recent years, especially those for young families and working couples,’’ he said in Parliament.
“The Government has taken a modern, contemporary approach recognising that many families and individuals require extended shopping hours to provide them with the flexibility to shop around busy working and personal lives.
“In addition, landlords cannot refuse to renew a retail shop lease if tenants choose not to open, as a retail shop lease which requires a tenant to open at specified hours or times is void under the Commercial Tenancy Act.
“The Bill does not amend the Commercial Tenancy Act and as such these existing protections for retail tenants will continue.”