South Australia has the most restrictive retail trading hours in the nation, according to a Productivity Commission report released today.
The report, Economic Structure and Performance of the Australian Retail Industry, is a damning indictment of the Labor Government’s misguided policy.
Particularly noteworthy is evidence from Coles that in 2010 South Australia had 10 non-trading days compared to 3½ days in most other states.
Shadow Industrial Relations Minister Rob Lucas said although there was clearly strong demand for deregulation, this won’t happen due to the power the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association exerted over the Labor Government.
“South Australia is a virtual ghost town on public holidays because the Labor Government won’t relax its archaic shop trading hours policy.
“When you have Peter Malinauskas of the SDA knocking on the door of a Premier who has been in office for nearly a decade to tell him his time is up, it is clear that the SDA is the real exerciser of power in this state.
“Clearly, it doesn’t matter whether Jay Weatherill or Mike Rann is leading the Labor Government, because the SDA won’t support deregulating shopping hours.
“The Liberal Party policy is that, with the exception of Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and the morning of Anzac day, retail businesses should be free to choose when they open.
“This would bring South Australia into line with the eastern state capital cities and help dispel the image that we are a backwater.
“At the next election, there will be a clear and important policy difference on shopping hours between a Liberal Government led by Isobel Redmond and a divided Labor Government led by Jay Weatherill.”