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Moves to ban boxing day trading; retail leases win

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) opposes NSW Opposition Leader Michael Daley’s recalcitrant intervention on Boxing Day trading. As the retail sector is the largest private industry employer in Australia and NSW, the ARA disputes Daley’s recent introspective comments.

The ARA views Daley’s stance as ludicrous that Boxing Day trading is driven by corporate greed; Boxing Day is beneficial for both retailers and employees. He has revealed his hand with this extraordinary proposal and it’s abundantly clear that he wants to deny retail workers the employment and wage-earning potential that this day provides.

Prior to 2015, retail trade on Boxing Day had been restricted to tourist precincts only including Bondi and the Sydney CBD. The current State Government of NSW legislated to allow Boxing Day trade across the whole state after a two-year trial.

With comprehensive feedback from business owners, employees and shoppers, an independent review conducted in 2017 revealed that allowing NSW stores to open on Boxing Day would level the playing field for retailers and provide extra work opportunities for workers.

Retail employees, including young people and students, have been put on notice by Daley that he would prefer to reduce their employment opportunities and put them at a disadvantage to their counterparts in every other Australian State and Territory.

"The ARA views Daley’s stance as ludicrous that boxing day trading is driven by corporate greed; boxing day is beneficial for both retailers and employees."

After South Australia recently joined other states and territories across Australia who operate on Boxing Day including Victoria, Tasmania, the NT and the ACT, the backwards step proposed by Daley is prehistoric in nature and will severely disadvantage local small business owners in Australia’s biggest state.

This proposition is straight out of the primordial ooze and Daley wants to take NSW back to the land before time. While this may come as a surprise to some in politics, the majority of New South Welshmen have views, which have evolved well past this 1980s-era thinking. Consumers want to shop on Boxing Day, employees want the opportunity to earn extra wages, and retailers want to trade.

Any move to prevent local businesses from serving their customers on the busiest retailing day of the year will merely drive consumers online and provide a significant leg-up to overseas competitors. The ARA will continue to work with retailers and their employees and will take up the fight to ensure that Boxing Day trade remains in NSW.

Major change to retail leases

Late last year the ARA helped secure a major win for retail tenancy in NSW. Along with the Pharmacy Guild of Australia (PGA), and with other industry bodies, the ARA is behind the development of the landmark Retail Industry Code of Practice – The Reporting of Sales and Occupancy Costs (the Code).

An outcome of the 2016 review of the Retail Leases Act 1994 (NSW), the Code marks a major power shift back to retailers, as shopping centre landlords will now have an obligation to provide benchmark information to their tenants where retailers provide sales data.

As at 1 January 2019, the Code will ensure that retailers will have the ability to access information on sales reporting and occupancy costs, improving transparency and accountability. This landmark achievement for NSW retailers will provide vital information to tenants in shopping centres, allowing them to better-understand the real value of their leases.

The implementation of this Code will help to give some power back to retail tenants and give them some added certainty when it comes to negotiating with their landlords. The Code has also been agreed to by the Shopping Centre Council of Australia (SCCA) and will be implemented next year. Shopping centres will have a six-month transitional period to 1 July 2019 to sign-up and implement the Code.











ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Russell Zimmerman

Russell Zimmerman is the executive director of the Australian Retailers Association (ARA). Email: info@retail.org.au

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Friday, 23 August, 2019 08:15am
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