Harper review ignores community impact of extended retail trading

Apr 1 2015

The Harper Review recommendation that the current restrictions on retail trading hours be removed shows no understanding of the community impact of the move.

Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association NSW/ACT Secretary, Bernie Smith, said the recommendation from the review into competition laws shows that no consideration has been given to the broader picture and the impact on workers and families.

“Australia is more than just an economy – it’s a society. Professor Harper seems to have forgotten that during the writing of his report,” Mr Smith said.

“Shops can already trade 360 ½ days a year. There’s no economic benefit to opening shops on the last few remaining trading-free days, and doing so would have a detrimental impact on our work/life balance.

“You’ve got to remember that opening stores at all hours, every day means taking workers away from their families during important occasions like Easter and Christmas. Are we really willing to sacrifice our family time and special occasions to keep the business lobby groups happy?

“As a society we need to start thinking about more than just the bottom line. Of course we want businesses to be as profitable as possible, but that shouldn’t come at the expense of our families and communities.

“We’ll be urging our government to look at Professor Harper’s recommendation in the broader context and reject the extension of trading hours.

“Professor Harper may think it’s ok for workers to sacrifice their Christmas and Easter, but there are families right across Australia who certainly don’t agree with him.

“I’m sure Professor Harper will be taking the time this Easter with family and friends to observe and celebrate Easter. He should let retail workers and their families do the same. I hope that this isn’t the last Easter that retail workers get to spend with their family and friends.

“Finding the right work/life balance is already difficult enough for Australian families. We don’t need Professor Harper making it even more difficult.”

Stand up for retail workers and any further erosion of their precious family time.
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