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Speech: Shop Trading Hours (Extension Of Hours) Amendment Bill

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: On behalf of the Greens, I rise to support the Shop Trading Hours (Extension of Hours) Amendment Bill 2022. I have just been apprising myself of the many and varied speeches that I have made about shop trading hours in this place since I was elected in 2010. The last speech I gave I think was about the proposal for a referendum—that referendum with a silent 'B' at the end that was proposed by former Treasurer Rob Lucas, who made this his crusade, a crusade for full deregulation of shop trading hours in this state, which he thought would be very popular. Clearly, the election results speak for themselves. People did not want to shop until the staff dropped, and we never had a referendum on the shop trading hours.

What we actually could have had almost four years ago—in fact, for the last three years of the Marshall government—was the compromise that we currently debate today. This is a compromise that would change shop trading hours on Sundays so that shops could open from 9am instead of 11am. It would also address some current, very minor but important issues within the legislation that would ensure that the minister can now appoint inspectors, where previously they had to be appointed by cabinet.

The compromise would also create a standalone section that ensures workers cannot be forced to work on Sundays, and it extends this rule so that workers cannot be forced to work on public holidays. This is something that the Greens welcome and support and something that I do not believe would have been put before us under the previous government's proposals.

The bill also formalises the current, more recent arrangements that have come to be known as part of our retail industry culture, if you like, which see trading on Boxing Day and maintain the carve-out for supermarkets in the Greater Adelaide shopping district. It also establishes more stringent requirements for granting or declaring exemptions under the act. We have seen them used and abused under the previous Marshall government by former Treasurer Rob Lucas.

Going forward, this bill provides better management of those exemptions where the proposed exemption is appropriate in order for a shop or shops to open at an exhibition, a show or a local or special event, or to meet requirements of tourists or other visitors. It requires community consultation and notice to be given to the community and that the exemptions are not so extensively used as to actually undermine the purpose of the act. The minister must indeed be satisfied that the exemption would not be opposed by the majority of interested industry parties.

For the bill that we have before us, while I am sure the opposition will make great mileage of the SDA's support of this legislation, I point out that there are two unions involved: there is RAFFWU as well. It is not the SDA pulling the strings here and it is not the SDA having its own way; it is a consensus bill that is being developed in proper consultation with the community.

I note the correspondence that I received, and I believe all members of this place have probably received, on 26 September with regard to this bill from Foodland Supermarkets Chief Executive Officer, Franklin dos Santos. He writes to inform myself and other members of parliament that Foodland Supermarkets Australia supports the bill:

Foodland Supermarkets Australia believes that the Bill strikes the right balance among the interests of shoppers, retail workers, the owners of large supermarkets, the owners of small supermarkets and convenience stores, and local growers and suppliers. In so doing, the Bill achieves a balanced outcome that is in the interests of the South Australian people and economy as a whole.

Foodland Supermarkets encourages us to support the bill. I note also that on the same day the South Australian Independent Retailers wrote with similar support for this particular bill and noted some media commentary that they distance themselves from. South Australian Independent Retailers state:

…that the Bill strikes the right balance among the interests of shoppers, retail workers, the owners of large supermarkets, the owners of small supermarkets and convenience stores, and local growers and suppliers. In so doing, the Bill achieves a balanced outcome that is in the interests of the South Australian people and economy as a whole.

They are singing from the same song sheet. I think this is what I would call a reasonable compromise, a step forward, an end to the cold war that was waged by the former Treasurer on this quest that he had, a crusade if you like, for fully deregulated shop trading hours. It is a sense of security and certainty not just for the workers but for the industry itself and for the consumers.

I would hope that this will be one of the last times that we are here debating shop trading hours in such legislation. I do, of course, anticipate that some changes to the public holiday act may soon come, and I welcome that particular debate, but that is not a debate for today. This is a debate that I hope will be one that gives that certainty for all parties.

I note that the opposition has stated and foreshadowed that they have an amendment to this bill. They have stated that they have done consultation. Well, they posted something on their Facebook page five days ago, possibly six days ago. It is still out for consultation, according to that Facebook post. That Facebook post also says that they have not decided their position and yet here we are, we have had late last night a tabled amendment from the opposition to extend from 5pm to 6pm the trading hours.

I cannot see how that was properly consulted on. I cannot see that the Liberal Party has been clear to the public about their position. I certainly think they are still carrying the legacy of the former Treasurer, Rob Lucas, and his crusade on this issue. I think the South Australian public deserve more clarity than they are currently getting from the opposition on this particular issue. With that, I look forward to the debate on the bill, and we will support all stages.

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