Labor sides with small business

STATUS QUO SUPPORT: Foster’s Foodland manager Brian Foster highlights the implications of abolishing Millicent’s unique proclaimed shopping district status with Labor MLC Clare Scriven.

THE State Labor Party is ramping up opposition to the Liberals’ proposed shop trading hour changes in Millicent, with shadow frontbenchers Clare Scriven and Kyam Maher backing a petition against the move to deregulate.

The petition, released as part of the Stop Deregulation Campaign, urges individuals to sign to “keep the balance that supports SA businesses and local jobs”.

Ms Scriven visited Millicent last week to launch the petition at Foster’s Foodland, which has since gained dozens of signatures in support of retaining regulated shopping hours.

After meeting with Foster’s Foodland managers Brian and David Foster, Ms Sciven said it would be impossible for the town’s two independent retailers to compete against major market player Woolworths in the event of deregulation.

She added predatory pricing would impact on local farmers and producers and decimate competition.

“Millicent has had overwhelming support for keeping the deregulation of hours as they are,” she said.

“Lots of people realise what it is going to mean for their local community and jobs.

“We asked about the modelling the Liberal Party might have done as well as consultation with small business and their answer was that in any change, there are some winners and some losers.

“We do not think that is acceptable.

“There is no way that IGA and Foodland will be able to compete in Millicent against Woolworths.

“That is going to mean a loss of jobs, less competition and less outlets for local producers.

“It is going to be a lose-lose situation for Millicent.”

Foster’s Foodland manager David Foster said the supermarket had received an overwhelming response from customers, with signatories filling two pages within three hours on Thursday evening.

“We have had to start photocopying new pages because we have already filled the petitions Clare dropped in,” he said.

“There are 150 signatures, which is not bad for three days.

“We are getting a fantastic response, but it is expected as our consumers are educated on the impact of deregulation of shopping.

“There is a lot of support in Millicent to keep the status quo.”

Mr Maher joined Ms Scriven in Millicent on Friday to launch the petition at Millicent IGA before spending time discussing the impact of total deregulation with local retailers.

He said consultation with Millicent businesses found overwhelming support for the retention of regulated trading hours.

“It is very clear from our discussions and talking to the people of Millicent they believe the balance is right,” he said.

“Millicent has twice strongly voted against deregulation because they know what the impact will be on small independents and the need to protect public holidays.”

The Labor representatives urged Millicent residents to voice their opposition to the extension of trading hours by signing the petition before it is tabled by Labor in an upcoming sitting of parliament.