By Deborah Jackson, editor National Liquor News

The two year trial which enabled packaged retail liquor outlets in NSW to trade on Boxing Day is in its final year.

The trial was announced in late 2015, following seven years of lobbying by the Liquor Stores Association of NSW (LSA NSW) and other retail industry stakeholders.

While Boxing Day remains a 'restricted trading day' a general exemption was created which enabled packaged retail liquor outlets to trade on 26 December on the condition that staff had freely elected to work 'without coercion or threats made by, or on behalf of, the retailer'.

The exemption was for a two year period with consideration for permanent reform or otherwise following the Government conducting an independent review before November 2017 (Parliament will be required to consider the matter at that time).

LSA NSW estimates that Boxing Day trading allows more than 180,000 additional customers across the state to take advantage of the convenience offered by having more liquor stores open.

It also estimates that liquor retailers pay around 40,000 additional hours in wages at public holiday rates on Boxing Day, giving employees who freely elect to work on that day a significant boost to their pay packet.

Michael Waters, the Executive Director of LSA NSW told TheShout that prior to the reform trial, more than 1200 liquor stores across NSW had been unfairly prohibited from trading on one of the biggest trading days of the year.

"The previous complex, inconsistent, inefficient, and prehistoric retail trading regime unfairly penalised and disadvantaged thousands of customers, businesses and employees," said Waters.

"However the LSA has every confidence that common sense will prevail and that this unnecessary red tape is removed once and for all, so that all liquor retailers can again look forward to operating on an even playing field, and we can all move forward to further employment and help grow NSW.

"As this coming Boxing Day marks the second and final year of the trial, LSA reminds liquor retailers to remain vigilant by adhering to this condition to ensure that 'staff freely elect to work without coercion or threats made by, or on behalf of, the retailer'."

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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