Suburban retailers across Adelaide will ring up millions of dollars in Boxing Day sales today – and provide jobs for thousands of eager South Australian retail staff – as local shoppers and holidaying tourists rush to take advantage of the Marshall Liberal Government’s extended shop trading hours.
Today is only the third year in SA’s history that all suburban retailers have been permitted to open on Boxing Day – and it could be one of the last if Labor is elected in 2022.
Labor leader, ex-Shoppies’ union boss Mr Malinauskas, is strongly opposed to giving local consumers, retailers and employees greater freedom to choose when they shop, trade and work – applying a ‘handbrake on jobs and economic growth’.
Treasurer Rob Lucas said, by contrast, the Marshall Government is doing everything in its power to support local jobs and businesses in the wake of the greatest economic challenge of our time, COVID-19.
“The proof of the pudding is in the eating and, once again, South Australians have voted with their feet in favour of sensible shop trading hours reform,” said Mr Lucas.
“We are proud to be backing businesses to open when they choose and, in turn, providing greater flexibility for consumers and more job opportunities for those staff who want to work.
“While Labor wants to shut up shop and force everyone to stay at home today, Boxing Day trade in the suburbs will inject millions into our economy which is good for jobs and good for business.”
From Marion, Harbour Town and Tea Tree Gully to Elizabeth, Noarlunga and Port Adelaide, people queued from the early hours of the morning to be among the first through shopping centre doors to take part in the post-Christmas sales.
There were similar scenes in Rundle Mall, with shoppers bagging Boxing Day bargains from 8am.
Meanwhile, Business SA CEO Martin Haese has written to Mr Lucas to express his support for the Government’s position not to declare an additional public holiday today, arguing it would ‘not just affect retailers but all other businesses in the State that are required to open… (including) healthcare, manufacturing, mining and hospitality to name a few’.
Mr Lucas said: “We welcome the fact that some retailers have indicated publicly they will be paying higher penalty rates today – if a business can afford it, that’s great – but there are thousands of small businesses across the state who simply cannot afford that additional cost.”
“We know thousands of local small businesses have been smashed by COVID-19 and to declare Boxing Day a public holiday would hurt these businesses at a time when we are doing everything in our power to support them,” said Mr Lucas.
“There are plenty of people who have jumped at the chance to work extended hours today as well as on Monday’s public holiday (December 28). With Saturday penalty rates of time and a half – a young person can earn more than $250 for their shift, and a further $450 if they work on Monday (double time and a half).”
“Working during extended shop trading hours is strictly voluntary and no one can be forced to work.
“It should be noted, the last time Boxing Day fell on a Saturday was in 2015 and CBD shops were permitted to open under the existing law, but the former Labor government decided not declare a public holiday either.”