Election bid

VOICE FOR SMALL BUSINESS: Colin Shearing in Mount Gambier seeking support as an independent candidate in the upcoming State election.

FORMER chief executive of the Independent Retailers Association, Colin Shearing has launched a bid to be elected as an independent to the Upper House in the upcoming State election.

Mr Shearing, of Adelaide, has long been an outspoken advocate for small businesses in South Australia and is a strong opponent of the deregulation of shop trading hours.

While Mr Shearing supports Millicent’s restricted shopping hours, he said he had no plans to change Mount Gambier’s trading hours which are deregulated.

During a recent visit to the city, he said there is no need to change trading hours in Mount Gambier.

“Trading hours have been designed to help tourism and so we went through the process, and we think the balance is really good.”

Mr Shearing said there was an opportunity for the Millicent community to change its restricted trading hours.

“They put this to a vote a few years ago… they didn’t want a change – that may have changed since, I don’t know but at the end of the day, I’d put it back to the people through a vote again.

“It was very clear that that community didn’t want it four to five years ago – that may have changed, and we’d look at that.

“I wouldn’t make any changes now however, if we get a voice in Parliament and the community came back to me asking to reconsider what’s going on [with shop trading hours] in Millicent – that would have to be a community driven exercise.

“I don’t have a problem with that because it’s about the people of South Australia and it’s about the people of that community.

“So that’s the way we’d go – I wouldn’t see it another way.”

Mr Shearing said his motto is “to defend small businesses”.

“Small business needs a voice,” he said.

“There are 143,000 small businesses across the State, employing half a million people,” he said.

“Covid-19 is the elephant in the room and the State Government’s plan to reopen the borders has failed.

“If the plan was to open up [the borders] on the 23rd [November] and create chaos – that’s what we have seen – we are more confused today than what we were 12 months ago,” Mr Shearing said.

He says his chance of being elected are “really good”.

“Business people lack trust in political parties – we’re not a party – we’re independents and small business operators ourselves,” Mr Shearing said.