Easter 2015 falls on the following dates:
Good Friday — 3 April 2015
Easter Saturday — 4 April 2015
Easter Sunday — 5 April 2015
Easter Monday — 6 April 2015
One of the great joys of federation is that people in Western Australia can’t make laws for people in New South Wales — and vice versa! — and Queensland doesn’t have to partake in daylight savings while ACTers consume pornography and explode fireworks, and Victorians get to enjoy world class public transport while South Australia is. Yes, federation does have it strong points!
Where federation becomes tedious, however, is when each state legislates its own public holiday trading hours. That’s right, Easter is here again so that means navigating through the eight different state and territory trading regulations.
New South Wales
Good Friday and Easter Sunday are Restricted Shop Trading days, meaning stores cannot open unless they meet the State Government’s criteria for an exemption. Small businesses with fewer than two owners and no more than four regular employees are exempt, or if your business is located in a specific local government area. Easter Saturday and Monday are not affected.
Good Friday is a restricted trading days in Victoria, meaning only exempt stores can trade. Stores with 20 or fewer persons employed in the shop at any time and having 100 or fewer employees in the week leading up to the restricted day are permitted to open. Easter Saturday, Sunday and Monday are not affected.
Trading hours in Queensland over Easter depend largely on the location of the store, with different rules applying to different regions. In all areas of the state, Good Friday is restricted and only certain areas are allowed to trade on Easter Sunday. Geographic details are available here while more general information is here.
Retailers must remain closed on Good Friday in Western Australia unless they qualify as small, that is, being owned by up to six people who operate no more than three retail shops, in which up to 25 people work at any one time (persons employed as apprentices are not included in maximum permitted staffing numbers). For the trainspotters, these restrictions only apply to shops located south of the 26th parallel, which is roughly Shark Bay. Find out more about Western Australian trading hours here.
Trading hours in South Australia are regulated by ‘shopping district’. These shopping districts consist of the Greater Adelaide Shopping District, including the CBD, and 35 proclaimed shopping districts located in country areas. Information on exemptions is available here, however, generally, the only exemption for the the electrical retail industry is for shops with floor area not exceeding 200 square metres.
The rules for South Australia are insufferably complex but I have tried to distill it into the following:
Good Friday: Regardless of location, only exempt stores may trade.
Easter Saturday: All stores in the Greater Adelaide Shopping District can trade until 5pm but non-exempt stores outside Adelaide cannot open.
Easter Sunday: All stores in the Adelaide Tourist District, exclusive motor vehicle and boat dealers, can trade from 11am to 5pm. Non-exempt shops outside this District cannot open.
Easter Monday: All stores in the Adelaide Tourist District, exclusive motor vehicle and boat dealers, can trade from 11am to 5pm. Non-exempt shops outside this District cannot open.
Major retailers and franchise groups employing more than 250 employees must close on Good Friday.
Australian Capital Territory & Northern Territory
Australia’s territories have absolutely no restrictions for trading across the Easter Long Weekend.
One of the recommendations of the Harper Review into competition policy is to scrap all these arcane and quaint restrictions and have simply have one set of national trading hours for all states and territories. Essentially, the Review says that only Good Friday, Anzac Day morning and Christmas Day should have restrictions, though there will no doubt be exemptions within that for small business and essentially services.
Here’s the full text of the Harper Review Recommendation Number 12 — Retail Trading Hours:
Remaining restrictions on retail trading hours should be removed. To the extent that jurisdictions choose to retain restrictions, these should be strictly limited to Christmas Day, Good Friday and the morning of ANZAC Day, and should be applied broadly to avoid discriminating among different types of retailers. Deregulating trading hours should not prevent jurisdictions from imposing specific restrictions on trading times for alcohol retailing or gambling services in order to achieve the policy objective of harm minimisation.
One thing’s for certain: the myriad and byzantine trading hour restrictions outlined above are complete madness, especially in South Australia.