Retailers welcomed today’s decision by the New South Wales Government to update retail trading laws, the most significant of which will allow them to open for business on Boxing Day.
Minister for Finance and Services Greg Pearce announced the news today, which also included reforms allowing bank branches to open on the August bank holiday.
“The NSW Government’s reforms are a win for shoppers and will provide an important boost to the State’s economy,” Pearce said.
Under the reforms Boxing Day will remain a public holiday; meaning that no one is obligated to work and penalty rates remain unchanged; but shops will no longer be required to close. The reforms align the NSW trading regulations with those of Victoria.
The pre-existing restrictions allowed big retailers and shops in the CBD to open Boxing Day, meaning that anyone living in regional areas missed out.
“We have listened to the needs of retailers and shoppers by delivering retail trading laws that better reflect community expectations in our modern economy,” Pearce said.
The Australian National Retail Association has welcomed the decision, although it had hoped a ban on opening on Easter Sunday would also be lifted.
“It was a ridiculous notion that people from Penrith would have to travel to the CBD in Sydney to bag a bargain,” ANRA CEO Margy Osmond said.
The key changes to the regulations include:
- The harmonisation of the category of generally exempt shops with Victoria;
- Provisions for retailers to undertake preparatory tasks at restricted trading times so they are ready to receive customers as soon as they are permitted to open;
- Removing the former regional exemptions and allowing for new ‘tourist precincts’ to be established on application by local councils;
- Allowing bank branches to open on August bank holiday (which is not a public holiday) without the need to first apply to the Government; and
- Exempting all shops from the requirement to remain closed on Boxing Day, 26 December, in line with Victoria
“We are ensuring that retailing, trading and community expectations align to ensure the NSW economy remains robust into the future,” Pearce added.