In a South Australian first, the Marshall Liberal Government has announced it will give all retailers in suburban Adelaide the opportunity to trade on Boxing Day.
Treasurer Rob Lucas has made the decision to grant the special exemption under the Shop Trading Hours Act 1977 in response to “strong demand” from consumers and retailers and will capitalise on an influx of tourists during the holiday season.
The move, which brings South Australia in line with other states, will enable suburban stores to open their doors from 9:00am to 5:00pm on Wednesday, December 26 - if they choose.
Shop trading hours on Boxing Day will also be extended in the CBD by an additional two hours, so they can open from 9:00am instead of 11:00am.
“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,” said Treasurer Lucas.
“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 ‘til they drop.
“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 wrote to stakeholders, including representatives of industry and employee groups, in September, seeking their views on extended shop trading hours for non-exempt shops (supermarkets greater than 400sqm and shops greater than 200sqm) for the Christmas period.
A number asked for Boxing Day trading. No response was received from the SDA.
“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,’’ said Treasurer Lucas.
“Importantly, no employee will be forced to work on Boxing Day. To reinforce this, the exemption - which is the same that has been used in previous years - contains a condition that all employees working during this period will do so on a strictly voluntary basis.
“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 whilst eating leftover pudding – there will be many people who will see this as a great opportunity to earn some extra wages.
“The point is, this exemption offers retailers, consumers and employees the freedom to open, shop and work if they so choose.”
Mr Lucas has also approved extended retail trading hours in the lead up to Christmas.
The hours, to be gazetted later this week, are listed below and include extended trade on all five Sundays in December and will enable shops to open until midnight on three separate nights.
“These extended hours in the lead up to Christmas are entirely consistent with the decisions made by the former Labor government,” said Treasurer Lucas.
Last year, the Rundle Mall Management Authority reported an estimated 200,000 people flocked to the CBD on Boxing Day, spending an estimated $128.6 million.
South Australia is enjoying a strong retail sector, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data released last week – with the state’s year-on-year average growing by 3.1 per cent in September.
Additional Christmas trading hours to be gazetted this week:
- from 9.00am (instead of 11.00am) until 5.00pm on the Sundays of 2, 9, 16 and 30 December 2018;
- until 12 midnight (instead of 9.00pm) on Thursday, 13 December; Thursday, 20 December; and Friday, 21 December 2018;
- until 6.00pm (instead of 5.00pm) on Saturday, 22 December 2018;
- from 9.00am (instead of 11.00am) and until 6.00pm (instead of 5.00pm) on Sunday 23 December 2018; and
- from 9.00am until 5.00pm on Wednesday 26 December 2018.