Trading leads retail reform

THE National Competition Council this week released a comprehensive stocktake of reforms undertaken by various State governments, as part of their yearly review of progress by States in implementing reform under the Hilmer competition policy agenda.

Victoria extended its shopping hours in 1996 following a review and the ACT repealed its Shopping Hours Act 1996 and 1997 after it became clear that its restrictions did not provide a net public benefit. In the second tranche assessment, Council concluded that Victoria and the ACT had fully met their NCP obligations regarding trading hours. The Northern Territory has no specific shop trading hours legislation, meaning that the Territory has no NCP review and reform obligations in this area.

New South Wales has completed a review of Part 4 of the Factories Shops and Industries Act 1962, which contains provisions relating to trading hours. The legislation restricts the ability of entities classified as “general” shops to trade on Sundays and public holidays but provides for exemptions from this restriction, which are normally granted for furniture, electrical goods and/or hardware shops. In practice, the widespread use of exemptions has resulted in a significant deregulation of trading hours.

Queensland has not reviewed its legislation and has chosen to address NCP questions about trading hours by using its current Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) process for deciding on applications for extended trading hours.

The Council is satisfied that the approach to be adopted by the QIRC is sufficiently public, independent and transparent. However, it is not clear to the Council that the QIIC has, prior to NCP, given sufficient weight to competition issues.

Western Australia reviewed its legislation in 1999, but to date, the Government has not released the review report. In December 1999, the Government issued a statement that trading hours for retail shops would not be changed during its current term of office.

For WA, the Competition Council seeks the release of the 1999 review of shop trading hours (or at a minimum, public documentation of the public interest case supporting current arrangements) and also expects the WA Government to implement the review recommendations, where appropriate.

South Australia reviewed its Shop Trading Hours Act 1977 in 1998. The Government announced new trading hours arrangements in response to the review. These took effect from 8 June 1999. South Australia’s response retained significant restrictions on trading hours, discriminating between different shops on the basis of location, size and product sold.

Tasmania has reviewed its arrangements, releasing its report in May 2000. The report concluded that the restrictions cannot be justified as being in the public interest and recommended that the Tasmanian Government remove them from the Act.

Add your comment

BNIQ sponsored byECU School of Business and Law


6th-Australian Institute of Management WA20,000
7th-Murdoch University16,584
8th-South Regional TAFE10,549
9th-Central Regional TAFE10,000
10th-The University of Notre Dame Australia6,708
47 tertiary education & training providers ranked by total number of students in WA

Number of Employees

BNiQ Disclaimer