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ARA Wants To Keep Anzac Day Trading Hours

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is requesting the New South Wales Government to preserve existing Anzac Day trading hours, even as unions are calling for stores to stop operations completely for the holiday.

Both parties have announced their opinions on the subject, while NSW Government is requesting submissions for 2024 Anzac Day trading hours.

According to ARA CEO Paul Zahra, currently, the existing regulations are a fair compromise, and letting stores to stay open from 1pm with some exemptions gives stores control over the holiday hours that they feel are appropriate and best for the consumer.

“The existing trading hour regulations strike an ideal balance in allowing Australians to attend dawn services and pay their respects before enjoying their afternoon and shop if they choose to,” Zahra said.

He also said that allowing for some exemptions, like allowing cafes to serve morning coffees, “is sensible”.

“If a decision was made to cease trading entirely on Anzac Day, many small businesses would be disproportionately impacted. While cafes, markets, takeaway restaurants, service stations and pharmacies are automatically exempt, it still leaves smaller retailers in areas such as homewares and fashion in uncertainty,” he said.

Zahra asserted that small family-run businesses depend on every occasion to trade, counting public holidays to make ends meet, especially now with inflation and cost of living pressures.

“Prohibiting them from trading on Anzac Day would have a detrimental impact on their business.”

Retail workers who take on holiday hours still have the advantage of getting Anzac Day public holiday penalty rates, which could be desirable for some employees, Zahra said.

“With the rising cost of living, many workers, including casuals, welcome opportunities to work and receive penalty rates,” Zahra added.

Right now, however, any adjustments to the current NSW practices will add an extra level of complications for national retailers.

“As it stands, Western Australia is the only state that closes on Anzac Day. If a state such as NSW creates another set of unique rules, it will become even more costly and complicated for national retailers to manage.

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