Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

SIGN OF THE TIMES Coast's Retailers Say 'No Thanks' to Longer Hours

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

SIGN OF THE TIMES Coast's Retailers Say 'No Thanks' to Longer Hours

Article excerpt

Byline: Kathy Sundstrom

EXPANDED trading hours which would have stores like Woolworths and Coles open until 8pm on public holidays has received its first "no thanks" from the Sunshine Coast.

Sunshine Coast Council officers have recommended councillors instruct the CEO to write to the Queensland Industrial Commission opposing the proposal.

Councillors will decide whether to accept this recommendation at next Thursday's ordinary meeting.

The National Retail Association (NRA), which represents the interests of the retail, fast food and broader service sector, lodged an application in October with the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.

It seeks to merge as many different trading zones as possible in south-east Queensland. This would have the major stores open 7am to 9pm Monday to Saturday, from 9am to 6pm on Sundays and 9am to 8pm on most public holidays.

The allowable hours for trading on Saturday, with stores open from 8am to 5.30pm, has remained unchanged for most parts of south-east Queensland since 1994.

NRA has argued if the application were approved it would "increase Queensland's economy by an estimated $111 million per year", reduce government red tape and "create more than 1000 new, full-time equivalent jobs".

MASTER Grocers Australia (MGA), representing the independent supermarkets in Queensland, wrote to the council opposing the plan.

The Queensland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIQ) was also consulted on the application and advised the council in March the NRA application was "detrimental to small business competing with market majors".

This was despite its survey showing 55% of businesses across regional Queensland supported deregulation of trading hours, with 77% saying SEQ should be treated as one trading zone.

These are their reasons why expanded trading hours would be detrimental for the Coast:

It will deprive small and independent business of their best trading hours of the week.

Small and independent shops can already open at these times and take advantage of the fact the large retailers are closed. …

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