14/02/2020 | Rob Lucas MLC | More Jobs | Better Services

The State Government is granting a special exemption to Woolworths Rundle Mall to trade later - until 7pm - next Saturday and Sunday night.

This means interstate and international tourists, as well as tens of thousands of local motorsport and Adelaide Fringe festival fans, will be able to pick up additional snacks, drinks and other grocery supplies on their way through the city.

The exemption, granted by Treasurer Rob Lucas under section 5 of the Shop Trading Hours Act 1977, followed a request by Woolworths to be able to meet strong consumer demand for ‘choice and convenience’ with huge crowds expected in Rundle Mall during the Superloop Adelaide 500 weekend.

Last year’s event attracted an estimated 254,000 fans over 4 days – with 64,500 people attending on the Saturday, and a sell-out crowd of 90,000 people attending Sunday’s final race and after race concert. The Adelaide Fringe attracted almost 35,000 tourists in 2019.

Mr Lucas said if other applications are received from retailers with similar claims for an exemption, they will also be considered urgently.

“This is another perfect example of a prominent retailer that supports thousands of local jobs not being able to meet the basic needs of their customers without having to come cap in hand to me, as the Minister, for permission to open their doors,” said Mr Lucas.

“It’s sheer madness that while the Government is doing everything in our power to help grow the economy and create more jobs, our silly, archaic shop trading laws exist to stymie that growth and apply a handbrake on further employment.

“In the same way I’ve granted exemptions to Drakes Foodland at Wayville over the past two years to enable them to trade extended hours during the Royal Adelaide Show, this is another excellent example of why change is so desperately needed.”

In its application, Woolworths Group Limited Senior Government Relations Manager, Rachel Elliott, said there was a ‘desire in the community for extended trading of full-line supermarkets’ and an exemption would meet ‘public demand for choice and convenience for the large crowds of visitors to the Superloop Adelaide 500’.

“As major events conclude and people move through the CBD, it is highly likely that event-goers will be looking to purchase refreshments and other items. The events program includes events which run all day and up until 9:15pm, which will see large crowds remain in the CBD area well beyond usual trading hours,” the application states.

The exemption allows Woolworths to open its more than 400sqm Rundle Mall store for an extra 4 hours in total, opening until 7pm (instead of 5pm) on February 22 and February 23.