People will be able to shop at Marion, West Lakes, Burnside and Tea Tree Plaza shopping centres on Boxing Day. (ABC News: Nicola Gage)
Shops in Adelaide’s suburbs will be able to open on Boxing Day for the first time this year, despite the Upper House voting against deregulated shop trading hours last month.
- Exemption allows Boxing Day trading in Adelaide suburbs for the first time
- Businesses can open between 9:00am and 5:00pm on the public holiday if they want to
- SA Treasurer hasn’t ruled out making the same exemptions for other public holidays
Treasurer Rob Lucas has granted a special exemption for shops in suburban areas to trade between 9:00am and 5:00pm on the public holiday.
He also has not ruled out making the same exemptions for other public holidays.
“I have to operate within the existing power; we’ll see how this one works, whether it’s popular, whether there’s the community demand, whether consumers support it, whether the traders support it and then we can make judgements as we go on from here,” he said.
“We indicated when the shop trading regulation bill was defeated in the Parliament last week, that wasn’t the end of the discussion.
“There’s massive support in the community from families for greater freedom of choice for shop trading hours, particularly on Boxing Day.
“Instead of a massive crush of people in one particular location with only the traders in that particular area being favoured, people will be able to shop in their suburban shopping centres.”
The change means that those wanting to shop at suburban shopping centres such as Marion, West Lakes, Burnside and Tea Tree Plaza will be able to on Boxing Day, rather than having to travel into the city.
Shops in the Adelaide CBD have previously been allowed to open on Boxing Day from 11:00am, but they too have been granted extended hours to open at 9:00am when suburban shops are allowed to open.
Treasurer Rob Lucas said retail staff could not be forced to work on a public holiday but could choose to work on Boxing Day. (ABC Radio Adelaide: Malcolm Sutton)
Mr Lucas said under the law, retail staff cannot be forced to work on a public holiday if they don’t want to and anyone who chooses to work on Boxing Day does so on a voluntary basis.
“Are you hearing stories of workers in Adelaide in the CBD or Mount Barker being forced to work? The answer is no,” he said.
But Opposition spokesperson Chris Picton said workers often didn’t have the freedom to decide whether they wanted to work or not.
“We think workers would undoubtedly feel some pressure and coercion [to work] and I don’t think the Government’s announced any way that they’re going to stop that from happening,” he said.
“And small businesses, even if they don’t want to trade, will be forced to — otherwise they’re going to lose a significant amount of income.
“What the Government’s proposing is that if you’re a baker, a butcher or a greengrocer then you’re going to have to work flat out before Christmas but you’re not going to get any break after Christmas as well.
“We think it’s a good thing that we have a strong, independent retailer market in South Australia; we think they deserve a break and an ability to compete with the Woolworths, the Coles and the Westfields.”
Mixed views from local shoppers
But shoppers at Marion Shopping Centre had mixed views on the extra trading hours.
David Campbell said he would not be supporting the idea.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea, it should be a day off. Everyone needs a rest — it’s the day after Christmas,” he said.
Merike Mannik said she supported the change and would give people a chance to make some more money during the festive season.
“I think it’s wonderful, rather than having to go into the city and contend with parking and crowds,” she said.
“I love the shops here, I come here regularly so I’ll certainly be lining up.
“It’s a chance to earn some extra money [for the staff] but hopefully people will be given the choice as to whether they work on the public holiday.”
Jenn Robinson-Cox was another shopper who said she was pleased with the change.
She said it would bring retail services in Adelaide more in line with other major cities across the country.
“I think it’s a great idea, I think we’ve been restricted for far too long and about time we had open shopping,” she said.
“You go interstate and you can shop anytime, anywhere.”