By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY: Time is running out for Good Guys, Harvey Norman and Clive Peeters to influence the NSW Government regarding restricted trading days in the Premier State. Until Wednesday 26 May 2009, the NSW Office of Industrial Relations is accepting public comment on the controversial restrictions, which last month denied trading exemptions to a number of consumer electronics retailers.

Under the current laws, large stores must seek approval from the NSW Government to trade on selected public holidays. These are Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and Anzac Day before 1pm. The Good Guys famously sought approval in the lead up to Easter this year for exemptions for all of its NSW-based franchisees, but were denied on all counts.

The new draft guidelines, which are open for discussion, are intended to reduce confusion over the trading restriction regulations and the application and approval process. Discussing this is NSW Office of Industrial Relations executive director Don Jones.

“Changes introduced by the Shop Trading Act 2008 mean that medium to large retail outlets, such as department stores, supermarkets, hardware stores, furniture outlets and clothing shops can trade on any day except identified restricted days,” said Jones.

“If these shops wish to trade on a restricted trading day, they need to apply for an exemption.

“These guidelines will assist retailers who wish to apply for an exemption and other interested persons who may wish to make submissions of support or opposition to an application.

“The aim of the guidelines is to provide clarity around the application process and how applications are assessed, including public interest considerations.

“This includes application time frames so that both retailers and other interested persons are provided with a clear indication about how long an application takes and when to expect a decision.

“Anyone that is interested in making a comment about the draft guidelines is strongly urged to do so.”

To review the draft guidelines, click here.