THE state government's plan to allow traders to open on Easter Sunday has been met with a mixed reaction from Ballarat business, employer and church groups.The Anglican Church has criticised the move, with Ballarat Bishop Philip Huggins saying it would create difficulties for families if shops were allowed to open.Bishop Huggins, chairman of the Melbourne Anglican Social Responsibilities committee, said nothing needed to be added to Easter Sunday."Easter Sunday is a holy day which would only be impoverished by the sheer banality of longer shopping hours, rendering more difficult the family life of staff and small business owners," Bishop Huggins said."The proposal announced (yesterday) lacks both imagination for civilised living and sacred awareness."Ballarat Catholic Bishop Peter Connors declined to comment, but head of the Catholic Church in Melbourne, Archbishop Denis Hart, said there could be a balance between the Christian holiday and commercial trading."We believe this can be harmonised with some availability for trading as occurs on other Sundays of the year," Archbishop Hart said.Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Union state secretary Michael Donovan said the new laws would deprive workers of public holiday penalty rates, and families of holiday time."We're very upset about what the government is doing. This is just completely stamping all over the rights of retail workers and many small businesses," Mr Donovan said.Commerce Ballarat executive officer Jodie Gillett said the business and retail group welcomed the move because it allowed Ballarat business operators to choose if they opened or not on Easter Sunday."From our point of view we encourage businesses to consider opening over the Easter period to make our city vibrant," she said. "We would love to see as many tourists as possible over the Easter period."VECCI chief executive officer Wayne Kayler-Thomson said the state's economy would benefit from the government's move to overturn a ban on Easter Sunday trading."The tourism sector in particular is affected by the fact that large retail chains cannot open on Easter Sunday at a time when Victoria is striving to become an international tourism destination of choice," he said."Retail is the only sector subject to these trading restrictions a commonsense approach would be to enable retail businesses to decide for themselves whether they wish to open or not."Since 2003, a business with fewer than 20 employees was allowed to open while large department or variety stores were required to close.Small Business Minister Louise Asher said the change would allow all businesses to trade on Easter Sunday.