Mandurah will keep its Christmas trading hours the same as the past holiday period, after a push for the city to adopt similar times to those in Perth was blocked by local government.
The issue divided opinions at the City of Mandurah’s council meeting on Tuesday evening.
Councillors voted 6-5 against officers recommendations to extend the trading hours to align with the Perth metropolitan region.
An informative deputation from Peel Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s general manager Andrew McKerrell, which outlined findings from a report that examined local business thoughts on the topic, drew contrasting reactions from almost all in the chamber.
Mr McKerrell revealed that 83 per cent of Peel’s retail industry disagreed with the idea of aligning with their northern neighbours during the Christmas period.
While he thanked local government officers for their work collating reports on the matter, Mr McKerrell strongly disagreed with their recommendations and urged elected representatives to oppose the agenda item.
Several councillors attributed their torn opinions on the time pressure the City of Mandurah was under to collate data the business community’s opinion on trading hours.
North Ward councillor Ron Wortley expressed his frustrations that he and his colleagues only had an hour prior to the meeting to mull over the findings of reports into the issue.
Unfortunately, now is not the time for Mandurah to align with the metropolitan trading hours.Andrew McKerrell
The issue laid in the reporting process.
Data was collected from major retailers by the City of Mandurah and small businesses were approached by the Peel Chamber.
The findings from surveying small businesses were not included in council reports in time for the meeting and therefore a majority of the findings were presented verbally to elected representatives.
Their on-the-spot decision to oppose officer recommendations lead council to adopt the same trading parameters as the previous Christmas period.
Mr McKerrell said the chamber’s consultation period resulted in an unprecedented amount of feedback and engagement.
“Based on the current socio-economic landscape of the Mandurah locality, the evidence to support the claims of ‘an increase in retail trading hours will, in turn, increase local spend and local employment’ is unfortunately weak at this present time,” Mr McKerrell said.
“With regards to the factor of increased employment opportunities, again, the evidence is unfortunately to the contrary, with one of our local small retailers this year alone having to reduce their staffing levels by 60 per cent.
“The current business climate in the Peel region is tough and business owners are hurting.
“Unfortunately, now is not the time for Mandurah to align with the metropolitan trading hours.
“We would like to acknowledge that you as councillors must make your decision on behalf of your ratepayers, however, on behalf of the business community, we cannot in good conscience support this extension at this point in time.”
On behalf of the City of Mandurah, the Peel chamber conducts an annual survey of their membership and the wider business community in relation to the extension of trading hours for the retail sector for the Christmas period.
Finding from the chamber’s report were collated through a survey, across social media platforms, via emailed or mailed opinions and through consultation with business at industry events.
From the overall votes received, across all platforms, 62 per cent of respondents supported extended hours.
Peel chamber members favoured extended hours the most, with 83 per cent showing their support for the move.
Mr McKerrell said while these results were in favour of the proposal, council couldn’t look passed the 83 per cent of votes from the retail industry that disagreed with the idea.
“As you can see, a stark difference exists between the different categories, with the retail Industry specifically siding against the proposed changes,” he said.
Christmas trading times for 2018:
- Between December 18-21 stores can trade from 8am-9pm.
- On December 17 and 24 stores can trade from 8am-6pm.
- On December 31 and January 1 stores can trade from 8am-5pm.
To keep up to date on all upcoming events, news and services, go to the chamber’s Facebook page.
Follow Caitlyn Rintoul via Twitter @caitlynrintoul.