ARA voices concern over NSW Anzac Day trading ban

(Source: Unsplash )

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has voiced its concern after the NSW government decided to extend the Anzac Day trading ban starting next April, from 1pm to midnight.

The ban will apply to retail traders such as supermarkets and fashion retailers, while small businesses, markets, cafes, chemists, newsagencies and takeaway restaurants are exempt.

The decision, which followed a review and public consultation last year, aims to “ensure the service of veterans is recognised and people are able to take part in services throughout the day”.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra said the retail body does not support the change as the current regulations, which allow all stores to open after 1pm, strikes “the right balance”.

The status quo allows respectful commemoration and consumer choice and convenience, without putting more restrictions on retailers at a time when the sector is doing it tough, he elaborated.

“While we are relieved to see that small businesses such as cafes, restaurants and chemists are exempt, larger retailers including essential retailers such as supermarkets, electrical, hardware and department stores selling winter necessities will be affected.  

“Shoppers still require food and supplies on public holidays, which is why we view larger retailers as essential service providers particularly in regional and remote locations,” Zahra stressed.

He noted that the change can also affect retail staff who rely on public holiday rates to make ends meet. It would also create another level of inconsistency between the states and territories.

“Western Australia is the only state that closes on Anzac Day but all states take their own approach. If NSW were to create another set of unique rules, it will become even more complicated for national retailers to manage,” Zahra stated.

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