Woolies takes aim at WA trading laws


woolworthsRetail giant Woolworths has appealed to the West Australian government to deregulate the state’s shopping hours, while urging it to repeal bizarre laws which regulate what times cigarettes, pantyhose, and needles can be sold in petrol stations.

In a submission to an inquiry into the future of the WA economy, Woolworths pleaded for the state to relax opening hours for shops to 7am on weekdays and Saturdays, and extend Sunday trading hours.

“This would represent millions of dollars in increased wages flowing, every week, into local communities,” argued Michael Samaras, Woolworths’s government relations manager.

The government inquiry was designed to compare WA’s economic performance against other states, as well international economies, and identify areas of possible reform.

In their submission, Woolworths argues the state’s liquor licensing system is in desperate need of reform, saying the process “is confusing, inconsistent and lacks clarity”.

The retail superpower, which also operates the BWS and Dan Murphy’s outlets in WA, also wants the state to allow non-metropolitan liquor stores to open on Sundays, while instituting a “fundamental review” of liquor licensing applications.

It also has taken a dig at some of the state’s outdated retailing laws.

The submission points out that as part of WA’s 1988 Retail Trading Hours Regulations legislation, limits are placed on what goods can be sold in petrol station shops at different times.

That means petrol stations can sell cigarettes before 8am on Mondays but not nicotine patches, and can sell pantyhose after 9pm on Thursdays – but not underpants at the same time.

“The original point of these restrictions is lost and the regulations are now quite redundant and create all sorts of inconsistencies and inconvenience,” Samaras said.

After considering the submissions, WA’s Economic Regulation Authority will publish a discussion paper to further outline the topics considered for reform.


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