Confusion over Anzac day opening hours

There is widespread confusion over business opening hours for the Anzac day public holiday with the different states and territories all regulating trading hours in different ways.

Traditionally on Anzac Day retailers are restricted from opening until about 1pm in order to show respect for the dawn services occurring across the country.

However, the information from government departments is unclear with departments giving little information for businesses regarding when they can or cannot trade, or if any new restrictions have been enforced.


According to Business Victoria the Anzac day holiday is observed between 12.01 am and 1pm on April 25, 2012.

Only exempt shops are permitted to open outside this time period.

Exempt shops include those with 20 or fewer persons employed in the shop at any time during Anzac day, no more than 100 employed at any time during the seven days immediately before Anzac day and certain types of business such as chemists, petrol shops, restaurants, cafes, service providers and hire outlets.

Major shopping destination Chadstone told SmartCompany it will open from 1pm to 6pm on Anzac day.

Northern Territory

Confusion was most acute in the Northern Territory where a spokesperson for the Commissioner for Public Employment said the Anzac Day trading hours was “a good question” and that he was unaware of the trading hours as they were set by the Department of Justice.

After the spokesperson transferred SmartCompany to the Department of Justice, the department transferred the enquiry back to the Commissioner for Public Employment who in turn transferred it back to the Department of Justice.

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice said if a business is family owned it can choose to open, so trading hours varied in the Northern Territory on Anzac Day.


Factories and shops in Queensland are required to close on April 25 each year with exceptions for racing venues, offices or licences of TAB, licensed premises, real estate offices and “exempt venues”.

Exempt venues include printing, publishing and distributing newspapers, manufacturing, distributing or supplying gas, electricity or water, necessary continuous manufacturing or mining, essential services, supplying of milk, manufacturing bread and the preparation of food in restaurants, cafes, pastrycook and hot takeaway food kitchens.

Independent retail shops can open after 1pm but shops that sell predominantly food or groceries can open all day while “places of amusement” including cinemas and amusement parks can open after 1.30pm.

Australian Capital Territory

Anzac Day is listed as a public holiday in the Australian Capital Territory however the ACT Government does not regulate trading hours.

A spokesperson for the ACT Government told SmartCompany “Many businesses choose to respect the Anzacs through the tradition of closing until 1pm on Anzac Day but this is voluntary.”

New South Wales

The New South Wales Government’s industrial relations website lists Anzac Day as a holiday from 1pm with exemptions for small shop retailers, exempt shop retailers, holders of hotel licence and takeaway liquor shops amongst others.
Small shop retailers are defined as those with less than two owners and less than four employees.

South Australia

A spokesperson for Safework SA said trading on Anzac Day was allowed in the Adelaide CBD between 12pm and 5pm, though all suburban and country shopping centres are shut.

Some country areas are outside the shop trading regulations and there are exemptions for hardware, furniture, floor covering, automotive spare parts and any shops described as “exempt” which is generally shops under 200 square metres.


According to Workplace Standards Tasmania, Anzac Day trading is not allowed in Tasmania prior to 12.30pm with the exception of exempt businesses.

Exempt businesses include service stations, real estate auctions or auction houses, where goods are sold at any farming, gardening, art or trade shows, race or sports meetings, regattas, markets or fairs, the sale of motor vehicles, car yards or dealers advertising or exposing motor vehicles for sale, the sale of replacement parts necessary for essential repairs to motor vehicles, pubs, night clubs and hotels where alcohol is the main good sold and restaurants and cafes whose “principal business” is providing meals or cooked food.

Western Australia

A spokesperson from the automotive, marine and trading hours branch of consumer protection said there were various arrangements but Anzac Day is statutory public holiday and a closed day.

The spokesperson said general retail shops cannot trade any time during the day.


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