ARA encourages South Australian MPs to support referendum on shop trading hours

Wednesday 12 May 2021

The peak body for Australian retail, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA), today strengthened its calls for opposition and crossbench MPs in the South Australian Parliament to support the Government’s bill to allow a referendum on shop trading hours.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra said the issue is a decades old challenge and it was high time consumers were given the chance to decide if there should be more flexibility for when shops can open.

“We support the South Australian Government’s sustained efforts to deregulate shop trading hours and to put the issue to a vote at the next state election,” Mr Zahra said.

“This is the right call, at the right time, to bring South Australia into line with contemporary practice which serves the best interests of the consumer and retailers.

“Flexibility is at the heart of consumers interests – we live in a world where people need to be able to live, shop and work flexibly and to therefore shop with maximum convenience. Failing to deliver this experience to South Australians will undermine the economic recovery efforts and drive shoppers to pursue other options.

“Sadly, opposition and crossbench MPs have indicated they’ll block the bill to enable the referendum. This would be a tremendous blow to retailers who’ve consistently argued for more flexible trading hour arrangements.

“Shops should be given the flexibility to open when customers want to shop – in the morning on weekends, in the evening during the week and on public holidays. At the moment we have outdated trading hour restrictions in South Australia that are not reflective of modern-day consumer trends – and that needs to change.

“We urge opposition and crossbench MPs to reconsider their positions and to support the Government’s bill to enable the referendum.”

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