Australia’s peak retail body, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), has urged the New South Wales Government to retain existing Anzac Day trading hours, as unions call for stores to cease trading entirely on April 25.
It comes as the NSW Government is seeking submissions on Anzac Day trading hours for 2024.
ARA CEO Paul Zahra said the existing regulations – allowing stores to open from 1pm with some exemptions for small businesses – strike an ideal balance.
“The existing trading hour regulations strike an ideal balance in allowing Australians to attend dawn services and pay their respects before enjoying their afternoon and shop if they choose to,” Mr Zahra said.
“Some morning exemptions currently exist for small businesses, an example being a cafe allowing to trade, serving early morning coffees for customers heading to morning services – which is sensible.
“If a decision was made to cease trading entirely on Anzac Day, many small businesses would be disproportionately impacted.
“While cafes, markets, takeaway restaurants, service stations and pharmacies are automatically exempt, it still leaves smaller retailers in areas such as homewares and fashion in uncertainty.
“Small family-run businesses rely on every opportunity to trade including public holidays to make ends meet. Prohibiting them from trading on Anzac Day would have a detrimental impact on their business.”
Mr Zahra said retail workers who volunteer to work also benefit from receiving Anzac Day public holiday penalty rates.
“With the rising cost of living, many workers, including casuals, welcome opportunities to work and receive penalty rates,” Mr Zahra added.
Mr Zahra said any changes to the existing arrangements in NSW will also add another layer of complexity for national retailers.
“As it stands, Western Australia is the only state that closes on Anzac Day. If a state such as NSW creates another set of unique rules, it will become even more costly and complicated for national retailers to manage.
The ARA will be providing a submission to the NSW Inquiry calling for current Anzac Day trading hour regulations to be retained.
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