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Comment on proposal to extend Sunday trading hours

A spokesperson for the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth said:

"Since its widespread introduction in Western Australia Sunday trading has clearly provided greater flexibility for the consumer, increased retail competition and more opportunities for casual labour.

"The proposed change of two additional opening hours may in and of itself seem harmless. However, it is the build-up of such changes over a longer period that can slowly bring about significant damage to society as a whole.

"The real issue involved in extended Sunday trading hours is the impact this might have on family life, especially for those who have no choice but to work on Sundays. People, and especially families, need time to rest and relax together in order to nurture and sustain strong family bonds.

"The gradual whittling away of a common time when the majority of people are able to attend to this important dimension of their lives may enable the retail sector to increase its profits, but this may come at a significant cost to our society.

"If the proposed changes to Sunday trading are to be introduced then as a society we must ask ourselves what other measures we will put in place to make sure that people's need for rest, for recreation, and for time to be together with family and friends, is safeguarded and promoted.
"It is also incumbent on employers, and if necessary the government, to enact measures which will protect employees so that their legitimate needs for rest and recreation with family and friends are met.

"We must always remember that the economy exists to serve the long-term good of society, and not society the economy."