NSW Govt tells the Good Guys: staying profitable not a good enough reason

By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY: The New South Wales Office of Industrial Relations (OIR) has responded to Current.com.au’s enquiries as to why certain shops are allowed to trade on Easter Sunday, while other leading businesses are not. As revealed on this site on Monday, the Muir Electrical Group, on behalf of its NSW franchisees is currently applying for special dispensation to trade on this day.

According to the OIR, medium and large businesses are only allowed to operate on the 4.5 restricted trading days if they explain why it is imperative for them to be open. The restricted days are Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and ANZAC Day before 1pm.

Although it may be implied that businesses need to be open to service customers and hence become profitable, this is not a sufficient enough reason to gain permission to open the doors. In an exchange with OIR communications coordinator Anna Flynn, Current.com.au was told that further, reasons must be proffered.

“Medium to large shops need to apply with a compelling reason as to why they need to open on the now limited number of ‘restricted trading days’ (including Easter Sunday) in order to be granted an exemption,” said Flynn. “Each application is assessed on its individual merits and a decision made accordingly.”

Questions that must be answered on the application include: “What is the likely effect on the local economy, tourism and other businesses if the exemption is granted?” and “What is the likely effect on employees, or persons working in the shop if the exemption is granted?”. Current.com.au has asked the OIR what the ‘correct’ answers to these questions are, and we hope to publish them in a future story.

Although other news agencies have published reports that Harvey Norman and Clive Peeters had also applied for exempt status, the OIR could only confirm it had received an application from the Muir group.

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