Gerry Harvey airs frustration at WA’s backward retail laws

By Patrick Avenell

Perth Now is reporting that Gerry Harvey has abandoned his plans to persuade the Western Australian Government to expand the legal retail trading hours.

Under the Retail Trading Hours Act 1987, the WA Government places strict controls on when retail business may operate. Factors taken into consideration in these rulings include the type of retail concerned, location of business, size of business and the business model. Under current WA law, Harvey Norman stores cannot open on Sundays, or after 6pm, Monday to Wednesday and Friday.

Perth Now quotes Harvey as saying: “Any fight that was in me has been extinguished.

“I am exhausted fighting for change in WA. As far as I am concerned, I have done my bit.”

Despite the wide coverage of this story, there seems to be some confusion amongst some media organisations as to the specifics of Western Australia retail laws. Sunday trading is not wholly illegal, with some retailers meeting the State’s strict guidelines for trading.

Under the aforementioned parliamentary act, retailers may open for trade 24 hours per day, any day of the year, if they are owned by up to six people and own no more than three retail shops. Additionally, no more than 13 people may work in the store at any one time. The only exception to this is stores selling motor vehicles.

Sunday trading is also available, with some restrictions, for retail stores in the tourist districts of Perth and Fremantle. Various other specialty retailers, including but not limited to, newsagencies, pharmacies, hardware, video and duty free shops, are granted dispensation to trade on Sundays.

Importantly, this legislative act only applies to businesses south of the 26th Parallel (South), which can approximated through Western Australia by continuing the line forming the border between the Northern Territory and South Australia.

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