Western Australia Minister for Small Business Simon O’Brien
Minister Assures Small Business Protected Over Public Holiday Trading
Victor P Taffa
Small Business Minister Simon O’Brien said suggestions were wrong that gaps existed in the protections provided under the Commercial Tenancy Act, which allowed landlords to fine tenants who did not open on public holidays.
“The Act clearly prohibits landlords from taking such actions and retailers should rest assured they are protected under the Act.” Mr. O’Brien said.
“Put simply, a landlord cannot make a tenant, under a retail shop lease, open certain hours and cannot charge a fine in relation to a requirement to open certain hours.”
“Asserting that tenants can be forced to open and be fined for not doing so only causes confusion in the market place for both landlords and tenants.”
“I urge any small business retailers receiving such threats to immediately contact the Small Business Development Corporation’s (SBDC) specialist commercial tenancy advisory team.”
“Any tenant faced with this situation, should keep a record of all discussions and correspondence with landlords and contact the SBDC for assistance to ensure their rights are upheld.”
Mr. O’Brien was responding to Opposition spokesman Tony O’Gorman who claimed small businesses were receiving notifications that they would be fined if they did not open their stores on Boxing Day.
“The threat is false and I do not understand the Opposition’s motives in peddling this claim.” Mr. O’Brien said.
“Also, criticism of delays in the appointment of a Small Business Commissioner and a shopping centre lease register is also premature and unnecessary.”
“The Process of establishing a Commissioner is well underway with Cabinet approval received and legislation currently being drafted for introduction in State Parliament’s next sitting.”
A Public Position Paper proposing options for Shopping Centre lease registers has been released and submissions are being received and reviewed. The Department of Commerce is currently working on a final proposal for consideration by the Government.