By Andy Young

The New South Wales government has introduced the Retail Trading Amendment Bill 2015 to Parliament, a move that has been commended by the Liquor Stores Association NSW (LSA NSW).

Currently the Retail Trading Act prohibits that massive majority of bottle shops from trading on Boxing Day, with exemptions for certain small shops or those in a gazetted tourist zone.

LSA NSW executive director Michael Waters said the association and its members have been calling on the state government to wind back the laws that have been preventing liquor stores across the state from trading on one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

Waters said: "Around 1,200 NSW liquor stores, more than one-third being small business owners, have been forfeiting over $3.5 million each and every Boxing Day since 2009 due to an outdated, prehistoric and unfair law that forces them to close their doors to customers, while other retailers enjoy a post-Christmas sales boom.

"Claims that staff would inadvertently be forced to work against their will on Boxing Day are just plain wrong and out of touch with reality – staff want to work that shift so they can earn double time and a half, liquor store owners by far and large want to open their doors because it’s a high demand trading day, and importantly consumers want the service and convenience.

"This nonsense law unfairly disadvantages thousands of employees and their families across NSW, who have previously had the opportunity to work and earn lucrative penalty rates, while their friends and colleagues can work and earn double time and a half."

The small shop exemption means that stores with four or less employees can open, but if the owner has five employees on his books or any interest in another business, they are prohibited from opening on Boxing Day. The classification of tourist zones is also considered to be inconsistent, with popular NSW tourist spots such as Terrigal and Bondi not gazetted as a tourist zone.

Waters added: "Due to a complex, inconsistent, inefficient and out-dated retail trading regime, liquor stores right across NSW being forced to close on Boxing Day, when in many cases literally right across the street or down the road you’ve got another liquor store or hotel bottle shop that’s able to open – it’s just ridiculous.

"NSW liquor retailers have been operating on an uneven playing field for seven years now – it’s about time common sense prevailed and that this unnecessary red tape is removed once and for all so that we can all move forward to further employment and help grow NSW."

The Shout Team

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

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