Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter Sunday: A regulatory egghunt

Three years ago, Steve Bracks introduced regulations to govern trading over the Easter period. These laws have prevented shops with more than 20 employees from opening Easter Friday and Sunday, as well as making Easter Saturday a public holiday. Travelling through Melbourne yesterday, the exceptions seemed to be the rule. Business excluded from the regulations include food outlets, hardware stores and regional festivals.

It raises the question of why large stores like Bunnings and Mitre 10 are allowed to open, yet their direct competitors in the form of Coles Myers' Kmart or Woolworths' Big W are forced to sit back and let the most popular time of year for DIY slip away.

Liberal SME shadow Bruce Atkinson has suggested:
[The bans] would be a joke if it was not so serious for retailers, consumers and holiday-makers throughout Victoria. Easter Sunday trading should be deregulated and the dud Minister, Andre Haermeyer, should be dropped like last year’s Easter eggs.

The Opposition has pledged to wind back restrictions on these trading laws.

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