24 Hour Trading in Australia

I heard on the news today, 5th August 2011, that a government Productivity Commission report has stated that shops should be able to open for 24 hours a day

This government idea for shops to open 24 hours to combat lower sales is, in my opinion, ridiculous.

For shops to open 24 hours it would cost them a fortune in extra wages paid at penalty rates. This would not help in lowering costs to persuade the public to buy, it would be more likely to end up increasing the prices, to cover the extra wages and power costs etc.

People are currently not buying because of concern over the financial future, and what are perceived to be higher prices.

People are also able to buy from overseas and avoid paying GST, something that local retailers cannot compete against.

There was a proposal last year for all sales under $1,000 to be GST free, so that local shops could sell on the same terms as overseas sellers, but this was shouted down by many.
It was a pity that this was not encouraged as it would have been easier to set that up than the new proposal in this government report to remove this GST exemption from overseas sales. However, Bill Shorten, the Assistant Treasurer, has said that it will take several years before it is worth imposing GST on the imported goods under $1,000 value.

Australian Shop Trading Hours

South Australia

As from Sunday 26 October 2003 non-exempt shops in the city and suburbs (Greater Adelaide Shopping District – includes City, Glenelg and other suburbs) are permitted, under the Shop Trading Hours Act 1977, to remain open until 9pm on all weekdays (excluding public holidays) and until 5pm on Saturdays. In addition shops can trade between the hours of 11am and 5pm on all Sundays (excluding Easter Sunday).

So, in the above detailed areas of Greater Adelaide, shops can trade until 9pm every weeknight.

  • Do they feel it is worth it ?
  • Do they currently trade to 9pm ?
  • Will a law saying they can trade past 9pm change anything ?


Generally, the minimum allowable trading hours throughout Queensland are:

  • 8.00am to 9.00pm Monday to Friday
  • 8.00am to 5.00pm on Saturday (extended hours may apply in certain areas).

Trading hours of exempt shops are totally unrestricted.
Retail shops that are exempt predominantly sell goods by retail, or for supplying services, that a reasonable person would expect to be sold or supplied in such shops.

It is often stated that Queensland has some of the most restrictive shop trading hours in the country, but most shops I know voluntarily close at about 5 or 6, other than some supermarkets.  Again I would ask these questions:

  • Do most Queensland shops currently trade to 9pm, the time they are currently allowed to ?
  • Will a law saying they can trade past 9pm change anything ?
  • How many exempt shops currently exercise the right to open the 24 hours they are allowed to?

Maybe there is more to this than meets the eye.  But I doubt that changing the rules will actually change much.

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