Australian State Requires Retailers to Close for Anzac Day, Retailers Slam Decision

By Jose Resurreccion

Jul 11, 2024 01:10 AM EDT

Australian State Requires Retailers to Close for Anzac Day, Retailers Slam Decision
New South Wales (NSW) Premier Chris Minns (L) arrives with NSW Police Force Commissioner Karen Webb at Bondi Junction Westfield to pay their respects to the victims of a stabbing attack at the shopping mall in Sydney on April 18, 2024.
(Photo : AYUSH KUMAR/AFP via Getty Images)

The Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) announced Wednesday (July 10) that general retail trade would be closed for April 25 every year. 

It is understood that the day coincides with Anzac Day, commemorating the anniversary of the landings in Gallipoli involving Australian and New Zealander troops during the First World War. 

Public broadcasters ABC and SBS reported that state premier Chris Minns announced the closures for traders for the entirety of the day instead of a half-day observance in previous years, including in 2024. 

The ban includes supermarkets, but hotels, clubs, pharmacies, and corner stores are exempted. 

Small businesses, markets, cafes, and news agencies are also exempted. 

Minns said the full-day closures were a "small price to pay" to recognize Australian veterans regardless of military service. 

The decision was welcomed by the Returned & Services League (RSL), an organization dedicated to the welfare of Australian veterans. 

RSL NSW president Mick Bainbridge, a former commando, said the decision was a "great way" to preserve the sanctity of Anzac Day. 

The ban would officially take effect on the next Anzac Day on April 25, 2025. 

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Retail Group Rejects NSW Trading Ban

However, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) disagreed with the state government's assessment and decision to ban trade on Anzac Day fully.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra said that retailers in NSW "consistently honored" Anzac Day commemorations by following the half-day ban. He added that retailers were supporting community activities and consumer needs. 

Zahra suggested that a "right balance" would be a better approach instead of a full ban.

Anzac Day Business Bans

Previously, businesses across New South Wales were required to close until 13:00. 

The state government said that a review into trade during Anzac Day found that most people supported full-day trade restrictions as a better way of recognizing veterans. 

Across the country, Western Australia was the only state that currently imposed a full-day ban on trading, except for small or special retail shops, gasoline stations, and motor vehicle shops. 

Large retailers in Queensland are closed for the day but permit exempt butcher shops, bakeries, and pharmacies to operate all day, while independent retailers could open from 13:00. 

Victoria allows trading from 13:00 and Tasmania from 12:30. Both states exempt pharmacies, small shops, and gas stations from such restrictions. 

South Australia permits retailers within Adelaide's central business district to only open between 12:00 and 17:00. 

Meanwhile, the Northern and capital territories surrounding Canberra have no trade restrictions. 

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