I wish to briefly talk about the agreement between Business SA and the SDA regarding the new shop trading hours, which has opened up a number of public holidays to shop trading but has also created two new public holidays from 5pm to midnight on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. I fail to understand the logic behind this proposal, other than a need of a disproportionately powerful union to validate its existence and relevance.
The ridiculous thing is that the public holiday proposal will actually lead to less trading, because shop owners and proprietors will struggle to justify the penalty rates, especially those outside the CBD and Rundle Mall. There are no surprises that the Adelaide-centric Weatherill government has rubberstamped this proposal. After all, we know that the Labor Party in this state could not exist without the SDA. It is, for all intents and purposes, that union’s political wing.
My concern in this debate is for the regional suburban traders who are generally smaller traders: independent traders who simply will not be able to afford the penalty rates on days that are not traditional public holidays. The trade-off with Business SA on this deal was that Rundle Mall will be open on traditional public holidays on which it was previously closed. That is great for those businesses but what about everyone else? Instead, businesses outside the mall will suffer twice: no public holiday trading and now they must pay penalty rates on regular days.
These are often days of celebration, particularly during the times designated for public holiday status, 5pm until midnight. However, it should be people’s choice whether they work at these times or not. They are never forced and the payment of penalty rates is sheer lunacy. They are exactly that: penalty rates. They penalise the employer for providing a service during times which are frankly some of the busiest times of the year.
The one benefit of penalty rates is that they encourage more people to work during these times but it is only the big businesses that will be able to afford to open during these hours now. To those on the other side of the chamber who say that the only opposition to this is from Coles and Woolworths and that we are in their pockets, that is absolute rubbish and they know it. It is clear from this sort of action that Labor is not a friend of small business, it never has been and it never will be.
Yesterday during question time we saw the perennial bumbling and incompetent explanations from the Minister for Industrial Relations who demonstrated that he cannot even handle his castrated portfolio; a portfolio cut up for him by the Premier like a mother cutting up pasta for her child to make it easier for him to consume. He only barely managed to get out that this proposal will cost the government an extra $5 million as he stumbled through his answer and revealed that he had no idea where the money is going to come from. It is obvious that this government will continue to spend and spend without even a thought of paying back the current debt that the state is now in.
I want to move on to more positive matters affecting this state. South Australians may have seen on the front page of The Advertiser today that Morphettville is a frontrunner in the bid to host Black Caviar, the champion racehorse, for her record-breaking 20th straight win. This would be an enormous coup for the state’s racing industry and a boon for the state. The South Australian racing industry has struggled as a whole in recent years. It has its signature and popular race meets; however, some meets which have traditionally been bigger in the past are struggling. This sort of event could bring more South Australians back to the track to support the industry.
It will also show that South Australian meets are just as good and as successful as those in Melbourne and Sydney. We have seen over the years and continue to see that South Australians contribute a lot to racing in this country, and we need to continue to support that. I wholeheartedly support the call from the shadow minister for racing, Dan van Holst Pellekaan MP, to encourage this government to do what it can to assist the SAJC in its endeavours.
I want to congratulate the South Australian Redbacks on their recent victory in the domestic one-day competition. It has been 25 years between drinks since South Australia’s last victory in this competition, and 16 years since we have brought the Sheffield Shield to this state. Well done to Michael Klinger—since he was appointed captain a few years ago we have had a lot of consistent performances in the coloured clothing—and also to coach Darren Berry who has obviously rejuvenated things down at the SACA and Adelaide Oval.
I also want to thank the IGA for stepping in to sponsor the SANFL mini-league which is a very important stepping-stone for the development of elite footballers in this state. Honourable members may be aware that the SANFL would have been forced to end the program through a lack of funding and it is great to see that it has been saved by a very good corporate citizen, the IGA.