The calls for deregulation of trading hours in South Australia might suit the growth of the chains, but according to the MGA, family enterprises and private businesses will inevitably suffer heavy financial losses.
MGA CEO Jos de Bruin says the deregulation of trading hours in SA will seriously affect the viability of small businesses throughout thesState. His comments come as the SA government has ordered a review of the state’s shop-trading hours as it prepares deregulation legislation.
“MGA strongly supports its 272 SA members and local association, South Australian Independent Retailers, in opposing the deregulation of trading hours,” Mr de Bruin said. “We’re fully aware of the struggle faced by independent retailers to keep their heads above water, as they fight to combat the might of the chains.”
Mr de Bruin says the major supermarkets have gradually expanded their powers by building more and bigger stores, “which in the end just crowd out the little guys to the point of annihilation, all in their own self- interest”.
He went on: “Currently, small retailers are able to trade at times that give them a small trading advantage and that helps them to survive, but if those times disappear, then so will they.
“We have seen this happen in so many towns and cities all over Australia. The chains get their way and what was once a thriving, tightknit community just ceases to exist. High streets become ghost towns.
“Businesses that have been established for decades just disappear and it’s not just the supermarkets – it’s the butchers, the bakers and the chemists. It’s also the professionals who were once supported by small businesses, and the surrounding farms that supply local commodities – they suffer too, because Coles and Woolworths have their support in the big cities and they buy in massive quantities.”
Mr de Bruin denies claims that the deregulation of trading hours would result in more jobs and more competition.
“There won’t be anyone to compete with and there won’t be any Australian local produce because so much will be imported,” he said. “We need to throw ourselves behind the opposition and stop trading-hours deregulation.”