SA unwraps Boxing Day trade
The move means shoppers wanting to head to their favourite centres such as Marion, West Lakes, Burnside and Tea Tree Plaza can do so on the public holiday for the first time in South Australia.
Mr Lucas told the Sunday Mail the decision, which brings South Australia in line with other states, will enable suburban stores to open their doors from 9am to 5pm on Boxing Day if they choose.
Retailers in the Adelaide CBD, who have previously been able to trade on Boxing Day and are expected to feel the impact of shoppers being able to go elsewhere for the first time, will be given an extra two hours to trade, opening from 9am instead of 11am.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for South Australian retailers and consumers who, for far too long, have been crying out for extended trading on Boxing Day beyond the CBD,” Mr Lucas said.
“We know the Christmas period is one of the biggest and busiest for retailers and the interstate experience tells us trading on Boxing Day can generate significant additional sales, while creating valuable employment opportunities for those staff who’d like to work.
“There are, of course, also many tourists in Adelaide at that time of year and everyone is familiar with the popularity of Boxing Day sales in the CBD, with crowds queuing from early in the morning for the chance to shop drop.”
The move, which has already been ticked off on by Mr Lucas, will spark a pre-Christmas stoush with the state’s most powerful union, the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA), previously headed up by Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas.
Mr Lucas said no employee would be forced to work on Boxing Day. ’til they
“To reinforce this, the exemption contains a condition that all employees working during this period will do so on a strictly voluntary basis,” he said.
“If a retail worker wants to take time off on the public holiday then there’s nothing stopping them.
“But not everyone wants to sit on the couch and watch the Boxing Day Test while eating leftover pudding – there will be many people who will see this as a great opportunity to earn some extra wages.”
In June, when launching a campaign against deregulated shopping hours, SDA assistant secretary Josh Peak warned deregulation would cost South Australians jobs and workers could be pressured to work more unsociable hours such as public holidays.
“Longer trading hours won’t mean consumers have more money in their pockets,” he said at the time.
Mr Lucas has made the decision to grant the special exemption under the Shop Trading Act in response to “strong demand” from consumers and retailers and will capitalise on an influx of tourists during the holiday season.
The Government’s election promise to deregulate shop trading hours was defeated by Labor and the crossbench in the Upper House last month.
“The argument in favour of this move is no different to the argument Labor governments and Labor ministers have used in the past in extending shopping hours in the lead-up to Christmas, including non-stop 24-hour trading,” Mr Lucas said.
“The Government’s view is why shouldn’t families in Elizabeth, Noarlunga, Port Adelaide, Tea Tree Gully and Marion have the same opportunity and freedom to shop as families near the CBD?”
Mr Lucas said a number of stakeholders responded to his request for feedback about extended trading hours over the Christmas period asking for Boxing Day trading but the SDA did not respond.
BUZZ: Boxing Day in Rundle Mall.