For as long as I can remember, if you needed anything for a Sunday breakfast or lunch cook-up, you’ve had to plan your shopping trip for Saturday afternoon.
Before a big Saturday night on the town, you’d need to stock up on Powerade and Beroccas from your local supermarket that afternoon, or risk paying the exuberant prices for a hangover cure at a servo the next morning.
A Sunday visit to Rundle Mall would be delayed by a couple of hours. I remember one Boxing Day that fell on a Sunday, leaving many shoppers lined up in the December heat waiting until the late morning before they could get their hands on a bargain.
That’s because in South Australia, supermarkets and retail stores didn’t open until 11am on Sundays – a tradition that had my interstate colleagues completely stunned.
But on November 6, everything SA has known about reduced Sunday trading hours went out the door.
The new State Government implemented a key election promise that saw Adelaide shoppers free to live the life of our more modern friends on the east coast.
In what is one of perhaps the most controversial opinions South Australia has had on the table, the Malinauskas-led Labor Party has been keen to allow traders to operate from 9am on a Sunday throughout their election campaign and going into the first few months of government.
While businesses can still choose to open later than allowed under the new regulations, it’s a huge step forward for those who might still be struggling to get people through the door post-pandemic.
In October, the Shop Trading Hours (Extension of Hours) Amendment Act 2022 was passed through parliament, and with it came more freedom for those who work on Sundays or public holidays.
“Workers cannot be forced to work on Sundays and public holidays without their agreement,” a statement from Premier Malinauskas and Attorney-General Kyam Maher said.
I’ve lived in Adelaide all my life, and naively thought the 11am Sunday start was universal, until some friends in Sydney gently reminded me some of their supermarkets ran 24 hours a day.
The only time I’d been shopping after 9pm was around the holiday period in December, when the local Westfield would graciously offer midnight trading for people who needed last minute Christmas presents.
Thankfully, along with the new Sunday hours, the government also announced extra midnight shopping days in the silly season, and businesses will open until 12am on Thursday 15, Thursday 22 and Friday 23 of December.
The government said the extra hours will provide a big boost for Christmas trading, and allow extra flexibility to the busy families trying to plan their holiday shopping.
“The Labor Government’s sensible shop trading hours reform are now underway and strike the right balance for workers, local small businesses, and shoppers,” Premier Malinauskas said.
“This is the biggest change to shop trading hours in almost 20 years, and we’ve been able to deliver it within seven months of taking office.”
“Our shop trading reforms have increased the shopping window for customers during the busy Christmas period while also helping businesses increase turnover.”
Attorney-General Kyam Maher said the government had consulted extensively with the SA business community to deliver the extra midnight trading in the lead up to Christmas.
“As we get closer to Christmas and you find you’ve forgotten a present, don’t panic – our Midnight Christmas trading reforms mean the shops will still be open for those last-minute gifts.”