By Andy Young

On Tuesday night the New South Wales government passed legislation through its Upper House, which will allow trading on Boxing Day.

Although the detail of the legislation is still being clarified, the industry is hopeful that it will allow liquor stores to trade, opening the doors to a $4 million Boxing Day windfall. The legislation passed with the support of Christian Democrat MP Fred Nile, after amendments were made to the original proposal. So while those amendments are being double-checked the Champagne is staying on ice.

Michael Waters, the executive director of the Liquor Stores Association of New South Wales told TheShout: “On behalf of our members and the NSW retail liquor industry as a whole, we are most pleased to hear that this reform legislation was passed last night. As many of our stakeholders know, since 2009 we have not rested on this issue, as it forced over 1200 NSW liquor stores, many of whom were small independent business owners, to forfeit nearly $4 million each and every Boxing Day due to an outdated, prehistoric and unfair law.

“We commend the NSW Government for delivering on their promise – it’s a win for liquor store owners, for their staff who want to work, for their loyal customers, and for the industry as a whole – it’s a win for common sense!”

Treasurer and Industrial Relations Minister Gladys Berejiklian welcomed the legislation, saying that the amendments will strengthen workers' rights to refuse to work on Boxing Day.

"Now no matter where you work or whether you're in retail trade anywhere you have the option not to work on Boxing Day and if your employer forces you to work or if a business forces another business to open, there'll be strict penalties," Berejiklian said.

"It makes our laws consistent, it makes them fair, it gives consumers choice."

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA), welcomed the new law as a "fantastic outcome" for NSW retailers.

Russell Zimmerman, Executive Director of the ARA, said: "The passing of this Bill is a windfall for the majority of NSW retail businesses. It will allow those who would like to trade on Boxing Day outside of tourist areas and the Sydney CBD to cash in on this lucrative day of consumer spending.

"The previous law was a draconian decision which left NSW, the largest economy in Australia, behind the rest of the country and blocked thousands of retailers from opening on the biggest sale day of the year. 

"We now live in a seven day consumer economy, and shoppers are demanding to be able to shop whenever and however they want. This is a common sense decision that will benefit retailers and consumers alike."

The legislation still has to pass the NSW Lower House, but it is expected that the Liberal Party's majority will see it go through. The new law will see stores open for Boxing Day 2015 and an independent review will be conducted after two years.

The Shout Team

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

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. With penalty rates our wages bill for boxing day would be in excess of $700 + super, with minimal staffing.
    With the increased competition from the chains, We would have to weigh up if it is actually worth opening on boxing day now.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *