A vocal opponent of the Marshall Government’s push to reform shop trading laws has applied for – and been granted – a Ministerial exemption to open one of its stores outside prescribed shop trading hours, to capitalise on increased crowds at the nearby Royal Adelaide Show.
Treasurer Rob Lucas has granted the temporary exemption under Section 5 of the Shop Trading Hours Act (1977) to Drakes Supermarkets which sought extended opening hours for its Wayville Foodland – located opposite the showgrounds – for the duration of the Show.
And other retailers in Adelaide’s inner south are being advised to apply for an exemption if they’d also like to take advantage of extended opening hours during the Show.
“The irony of this situation is not lost on me or the government,’’ said Treasurer Rob Lucas.
“Whilst Independent Retailers representing Foodland and IGA stores have opposed plans to provide greater freedom of choice in Shop Trading laws, this is a good example of why change is so desperately needed.”
The exemption – in place from Friday, August 31 to Sunday September 9 – will enable Wayville Foodland to open its more than 1300sqm Goodwood Rd store for an additional 34 hours over the 10-day Show period, including opening until 10pm each night and from 7am on Sundays.
“By seeking an exemption, Drakes Supermarkets has acknowledged what most South Australians already know to be true, that is if businesses want to open, if customers want to shop and if employees are willing and able to work – why should the law stop them?” Treasurer Lucas said.
“I’d advise any business in the area that would also like to take advantage of extended trading hours during the Royal Show to seek an exemption as soon as possible.
“Of course, a Ministerial exemption wouldn’t be required if our opponents from the Labor Party and Independent Retailers were supportive of our bid to reform shop trading laws.”
In his application to the government, supported by a community petition, Drakes Supermarkets General Manager, Bob Soang, said by being able to trade until 10pm each evening “we will be able to meet the requirements of most visitors (including tourists) attending the Show who want to remain at the Show in the evening until after the fireworks display and who need to purchase groceries afterwards. If the exemption is not granted, the requirements of those visitors will not be met.”
The State Government introduced The Retail Trading Bill (2018) to Parliament last month.
It is the second time in as many months, Treasurer Lucas has granted a Ministerial exemption to an individual retailer to trade outside prescribed shop trading hours.
In June, Foodland at Thebarton was granted special permission to extend its operating times because ongoing Council roadworks in front of the supermarket had severely affected the store’s usual trade.
Under Section 5 of the Shop Trading Hours Act (1977), the Minister “may grant or declare exemptions” for a “specified shop, class of shops or shops generally”.
“Small to medium businesses are the backbone of our state’s economy and the Marshall Government is committed to a raft of reforms that will help ensure they thrive.”