ARA seek nationalisation of trading hours following NSW changes

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 30th June 2008

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has supported the reforms to NSW trading hours, which are due to come into effect on July 1, but acknowledge that it may create a delicate balance for smaller retailers.

Currently retail trading hours throughout NSW are regulated under the Shops and Industries Act 1962 (the Act) but the Shop Trading Bill 2008, which was passed through parliament on June 17, is set to ‘modernise’ this legislation. The Bill will de-regulate shop trading hours while restricting trading on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Anzac Day (but only in the morning), Christmas Day and Boxing Day (restricted trading days). It will also enable small shops and specified other shops to trade on restricted trading days and repeal all remaining restrictions on Sunday trading.

ARA’s Executive Director Richard Evans believes the move to simplify trading hours for retailers is a good thing for retail business and consumers, but with the extended hours comes longer days for small business owners.

“Cleaning up red tape for retail business is an important agenda for the ARA, and having open seven day a week trading options for retailers is welcomed. But with the easing of restrictions – there is also the need to acknowledge the balance required for smaller retailers in terms of attracting more trade to ensure increased profitability and the need to work longer hours,” Mr Evans said. “However, we are confident that any initial market concerns from smaller traders will be overcome. The changes will be better for retail business and consumers as confusion and frustration around legal opening times will be removed.”

Mr Evans added that nationalisation of trading hours would be a logical step forward. “We all live in a 24/7 economy with the requirement and expectation of flexible trading hours and convenient access to products and services. In fact, we would like to see a nationalisation of trading hours. In this time of difficult trading for retailers – any move from the government to ease restrictions and remove red tape is a good thing,” Mr Evans concluded.