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Shops to Shut Down Entirely in NSW on Anzac Day

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The RSL has praised the NSW government’s move to increase trading restrictions on Anzac Day, while the state’s peak retail body expressed concerns.

The New South Wales (NSW) government has extended Anzac Day trading restrictions to include the entire day.

Held on April 25 each year, Anzac Day commemorates the anniversary of the first campaign that led to major casualties for Australian and New Zealand forces during World War I. It has become a day to acknowledge service men, women, and animals.

Previously, trading restrictions were ended at 1 p.m. under the Retail Trading Act, when trade was allowed to resume.

The restrictions do not apply to small businesses and business not considered retailers or with exemptions such as markets, cafes, chemists, newsagencies, and takeaway restaurants.

These businesses will continue to remain open the entire day.

RSL NSW president Mick Bainbridge applauded the move, saying it would allow veterans and their families to attend commemorations together.

“It’s a great way to ensure we protect the sanctity of Anzac Day, our most important veterans’ day,” he said.

“Too often, the pastoral needs of veterans, and the friends and families who support them, are overlooked. This is an opportunity for them to take time away from work on this special day to commemorate their service.

“I welcome the support of the premier and his government, and the SDA Union to ensure that Anzac Day, the seminal veterans’ day, is observed.”

NSW branch secretary Bernie Smith added, “It’s not much to ask for retail workers to give up half a day of penalty rates, or for the community to give up half a day of shopping, when … veterans have given up so much for all of us.”

A review into Anzac Day trading restrictions commenced last year, with a public consultation period running from September to October.

According to the NSW government, most submissions backed full-day restrictions including support from veterans, veterans’ organisations, and members of the public.

Given the day’s significance, most Australian states impose Anzac Day trading restrictions, which allow workers and businesses to participate in commemorative and community events and pay their own respects.

NSW Premier Chris Minns said the day was a solemn one for Australians.

“As of next year, New South Wales will extend our retail trading restrictions across Anzac Day, to make sure our veterans are recognised and free to take part in services throughout the day,” he said.

“It might be inconvenient for a few hours, but closing our biggest corporate shops for a single day is a small price to pay for living in a free and open democracy.

However, the nation’s peak retail body said the change would impact workers unnecessarily, while also making it harder for people to shop for food in regional and remote areas.

“Changing this legislation will not change the way Australians come together on this important day,” Australian Retailers Association chief Paul Zahra said.

“Many workers are relying on public holiday rates to make ends meet during this incredibly challenging economic period.”

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