Dominique Lamb CEO National Retail Association

This week the issue of trading hours has been in the spotlight once again.

The Productivity Commission has been arguing since 2011 that trading hours be deregulated in all states, including public holidays, as a long-term objective, and that it should be up to retailers to decide when they want to open their doors.

After all, when you’re running a retail business, there’s no point opening unless there’s consumer demand, so consumer demand should therefore drive when you open your doors.

Sounds logical, but it’s not always the case.

While we don’t support full deregulation, in West Australia and South Australia for instance, we are still seeing legislation that discriminates between retailers, based on location, the products sold, number of employees etc., which allows some stores to trade while others cannot.

Take a boat from the mainland to WA’s Rottnest Island and you’ll find retailers with their doors open whenever it suits them.

New South Wales, the Northern Territory, Victoria, ACT and Tasmania retailers are now almost entirely unregulated and able to determine how best to service their customers’ needs.

This week in Queensland, the State Government committed to implementing most of the recommendations of the independent Mickel Review into the state’s trading hours, with butchers now able to trade without restriction, and hardware stores able to open from 6am.

It’s essential that legislation evolve to reflect a changing retail environment, and so as the oldest, and largest, retail industry body in Australia, the NRA will continue to fight for our members to be able to service their customers when they see fit.

Have a great week.

Dominique Lamb