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Melbourne archbishop spots loophole in trading hours legislation

Archbishop Denis Hart, who is urging the Bracks Government to "put families before further economic profit", has re-stated his strong opposition to Victoria's Shop Trading Reform (Simplification) Bill, which is under consideration by State Parliament.

Archbishop Hart's further comment was prompted by seeing in the legislation provision for retailers with up to 100 equivalent full-time employees to open on Christmas Day, Good Friday, Easter Sunday and the morning of Anzac Day. He said this could allow companies with up to 600 employees to open, given that many in the industry are part-time or casual.

Archbishop Hart said in a statement yesterday: "This is an even more drastic deregulation of trading hours."

Pointing out growing opposition from church groups, he insisted the legislation must not be rushed through.

"The Victorian community need time to discuss this important matter more fully", he said.

"Such proposed legislation would make it difficult for retail workers and their families to attend important religious services over these most significant days," he said. "Family reunions would be impeded."

Shop trading reform - Archbishop Hart renews his call for more discussion (Archdiocese of Melbourne)

Shop Trading Reform (Simplification) Bill (Victorian Parliamentary Documents)
Melbourne Archbishop opposes Victorian trading reforms (7/11/03)
Bracks retreats on Easter bans for retailers (The Age 6/11/03)
Shop Trading Reform - Put Families Before Profits (Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne)
Archdiocese of Melbourne
Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development
Adelaide Church calls for restraint on Easter trading hours (4/3/03)
[Hobart] Archbishop opposes extended shop trading hours (25/3/02)

14 Nov 2003