The WA State Government can act now by deregulating retail trading hours to create new jobs for young Western Australians given youth unemployment hit a 21-year high (16.7%) in February.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA (CCI) Chief Executive Officer Chris Rodwell said the Government could back business to invest and create new jobs if we want to turn these figures around.
“The Government can create new jobs for young people overnight by removing restrictions on when stores can open their doors,” Mr Rodwell said.
The Productivity Commission’s 2014 report stated: ‘The [retail] sector is a significant employer and further deregulation of trading hours is likely to benefit particularly the youngest and oldest age cohorts, first time job-seekers, and those with a preference for part-time or casual work’.
“Deregulation of retail trading hours will lower prices for consumers, create convenience and more jobs for West Australians, boost economic growth and make WA a more attractive place to live and do business,” Mr Rodwell said.
“Competition is tough enough for brick and mortar retailers as they face increased competition from online retailers which trade day and night across the globe.
“While CCI welcomes the State Government’s extension of retail trading hours for the Easter long weekend, in line with last year’s trading hours, unfortunately WA still has the most restrictive retail trading hours in the country.”
Tasmania, Victoria, New South Wales, the Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory all have totally, or significantly, deregulated shopping hours, and the South Australian Government will soon implement their election commitment to deregulate trading hours, except on Christmas Day, Good Friday and Anzac Day morning.
“The WA Government needs to take a leaf out of the South Australian playbook and give local businesses the freedom to choose when they open their doors,” Mr Rodwell said.
“We can’t have WA retailers entering the fray of the digital economy with their hands cuffed when the retail sector provides 420,000 jobs for Australian youth each year.
“These are jobs that should be supported, not hampered by onerous regulation that is no longer reflective of how West Australians live.
“This decision is in the ‘too easy, let’s do it now’ basket. We urge the State Government to remove these unfair restrictions on WA local businesses WA’s retail trade regulations and, at the very least, bring us in line with the rest of the country.