Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

{ROCKY WILL GET 7-DAY TRADING} {Shoppers Can't Wait for Sundays but Small Business Can }; Council Attacked for Not Putting Community First

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

{ROCKY WILL GET 7-DAY TRADING} {Shoppers Can't Wait for Sundays but Small Business Can }; Council Attacked for Not Putting Community First

Article excerpt

Byline: Amy Formosa amy.formosa@capnews.com.au

IT was the worst Christmas present imaginable for Central Queensland's small business owners and hundreds of retail workers.

Sunday trading will start in Rockhampton on January 31 after the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission this week approved a National Retailers Association application for extended trading hours.

National retailers like Woolworths and Big W will be open from 9am to 6pm on Sundays, while other retailers including independent stores at Stockland Rockhampton, City Centre Plaza, Allenstown and Northside Plaza will have the choice to trade on Sundays.

Saturday trading hours will be 8am to 5pm and Monday to Friday trade will be between 8am and 9pm. The extended hours will be effective from January 29.

Sunday trade is crucial to smaller businesses when major shopping centres are closed.

National executive director of The Retailers Association Scott Driscoll yesterday attacked Rockhampton Regional Council for its role in the decision- making process.

Earlier this year the council voted to support seven-day-trading. However, it later back- flipped and voted to have no opinion on the matter by taking a neutral stance.

"They (council) haven't put the community first; it's all about the profit of Coles and Woolworths," said Mr Driscoll, who is involved with small and medium-size retailers Australia-wide.

"Give it 12 to 18 months and jobs will be lost, small businesses will be missing and the community will suffer.

"Council jumped into a position, dismissed their decision, agreed to meet with us and then refused."

Mayor Brad Carter said council offered The Retailers Association the opportunity to attend a full council meeting, but they declined because of other commitments.

"We advised them to attend and I emphasised how important it was to present their information," Cr Carter said.

He said all councillors considered the impact on the community and the benefits for the big retailers didn't enter the discussion. …

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