Katanning set for Sunday trading

Saskia AdystiGreat Southern Herald

The seven day trading debate in Katanning has finally came to an end last Tuesday, as council members passed the motion with a simple majority vote during their last meeting.

The request to allow large retail shops in Katanning to trade from 10am to 5pm on Sundays was put forward by the National Retail Association (NRA) a leading retail lobby group from Queensland.

BKW Co-Op, Target and Woolworths are the three major stores in town that will be greatly impacted by this deregulation, as the majority of local businesses in town are already able to trade for seven days a week.

BKW Co-op general manager, Graeme Norrish said that the viability of trading on Sunday is the co-op biggest concern.

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“The consumer is not going to have any more money – but we’re just going to open for more hours to achieve the same results,” Mr Norrish said.

“If we saw a majority of the community expressing their views that they need and want this – then as a co-op we would look and support it, but we haven’t seen a ground swell of people demanding it.” Mr Norrish said.

The shire first tabled the issue during its March 28 meeting, as they voted to first consult with the local community prior to any decisions making.

Shire executive officer, Julian Murphy said they’ve invited locals to submit a written submission on the topic, however by June 8 they’ve managed to only receive a grand total of twelve submission - seven submissions wrote in support and the other four was against.

“The Herald published a front page article about the seven day trading submission in April and it received numerous comments online,”

“Some supported it and others opposed it, however the majority of them didn’t send a written submission to the council” Mr Murphy said.

The Katanning Regional Business Association also conducted a survey and received only 11 responses - the survey revealed 80% of respondents were in support of the seven day trading.

Shire president, Liz Guidera was the only council member who opposed the seven day trading motion.

Councillor Guidera said that it’s currently a critical time for retail shops to operate in town, ever since the co-op revealed that they’re struggling to maintain its supermarket department.

BKW Co-Op currently employs 42 people in town and Councillor Guidera wishes to put the seven day trading submission on hold for another 12 months until the co-op is able to reassess their business model.

Councillor John Goodheart said that even though he understands the current struggles that many businesses in town have to face, he’s not entirely convinced that a 12 months hiatus would make much difference.

“The time has come for Katanning to step up and to be progressive and members of the council have to do something about it,” Councillor Goodheart said.

During the meeting, Councillor Liz Guidera, Serena Sandwell and Alep Mydie declared their impartiality before voting on the issue. Councillor Guidera’s husband is a board member of the co-op, meanwhile Councillor Sandwell works at a petrol station in Katanning and Councillor Mydie owns a café in Katanning.

Councillor Martin Van Koldenhoven and Councillor Craig Mckinley did not vote on the item due to financial interest conflict.

The seven day trading motion was passed during the council meeting with a simple majority of 4 against 1.

The council will now submit the extended trading hours application to the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety - Consumer Protection Division and will commenced the new trading hours once they’ve received an approval.

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