The State Government has questioned why Labor would run an anti-deregulation scare campaign in the very places that enjoy the spoils of extended shop trading, labelling their actions ‘silly and misinformed’.
Recent media reports have shown a group of Labor MLCs touring parts of regional South Australia – where shop trading hours are already successfully deregulated – seeking local business support for their opposition to, of all things, deregulation.
The facts are that in all regional areas of SA (except Millicent) stores can open whenever they want to open. So, they can trade 24 hours-a-day, including Christmas Day and Good Friday – not that they do.
“Labor’s actions are misinformed and just don’t make any sense,’’ said Treasurer Rob Lucas.
“Why would you go out of your way to run an anti-deregulation campaign in the very places that enjoy the benefits of deregulation?
“It’s the good, hardworking people of regional South Australia, in places like Murray Bridge, the Riverland, the Barossa and Port Pirie, who prove why freedom of choice is so important – it drives opportunity for traders, consumers and employees.
“The overwhelming majority of South Australians support the deregulation of our dog’s breakfast shop trading laws. All we are saying is if shops want to open, customers want to shop and workers are prepared to work, why should the law stop them?”
The State Government yesterday introduced to Parliament legislation – The Retail Trading Bill 2018 – to replace the existing Shop Trading Hours Act 1977.
The move comes amid revelations strong customer demand for extended trading hours has driven several independent supermarkets to flout current shop trading laws.
An audit, conducted by SafeWork SA, has revealed a number of independent retailers – which are bigger than 400 square metres – have been trading before 11am on Sundays, after 5pm on weekends, and also on public holidays.