For the first time in eight years all Victorian businesses are able choose whether or not they wish to trade this Easter Sunday.
Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business Minister Louise Asher said this change will allow more businesses, especially those in regional areas, to take advantage of high tourist numbers during the busy Easter period.
“Tourism is a significant driver for the Victorian economy. It is estimated to be worth $15.8 billion and employs approximately 184,000 people,” Ms Asher said.
“Our initiative will give a much needed boost to the tourism and retail sectors, after a difficult trading period over summer and damage caused by recent flooding.”
This change to Easter Sunday trading laws reverses the selective ban introduced by Labor in 2003, and contrary to Labor claims, does not compel businesses to open or change the payment of penalty rates.
“Small businesses in shopping centres are already protected by provisions in existing Victorian legislation to ensure that they are able to choose whether to open or not on Sundays or public holidays,” Ms Asher said.
“I have written to the Shopping Centre Council of Australia (SCCA) and the Property Council of Australia to remind them that Sundays and public holidays are optional trading days for small businesses within shopping centres.”
Ms Asher made the point that Easter Sunday was not a public holiday and has not been a public holiday in the past.
“Labor conveniently chooses to ignore that penalty rates have never been payable on Easter Sunday, including under Labor,” Ms Asher said.
“It should also be noted the former Labor Government provided a number of exemptions from its own laws, by allowing businesses to open over Easter by ministerial discretion.”
The former Labor Minister for Small Business and current Member for Ripon Joe Helper even provided exemptions from his own laws, including in his own electorate.
If Labor were truly concerned about these issues then it would have made Easter Sunday a public holiday during its long 11 years in government, and it would have refused requests for exemptions from its own laws.
The Coalition Government will continue to support businesses and do what it can to help them grow, employ and invest in Victoria.