Consumers, workers and retailers all win from SEQ trading hours ruling
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Consumers, workers and retailers all win from SEQ trading hours ruling

October 14, 2016

The National Retail Association today welcomed the ground-breaking decision of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission to extend trading hours in the state’s south-east corner, and to create greater harmony in shopping times across the region.

NRA Chief Executive Officer Dominique Lamb said the decision, handed down this afternoon, would add in excess of $100 million to the Queensland economy each year, and would drive the creation of around 1000 new jobs.

“This is a great day for Queensland retail businesses, large and small, a great day for the people who work in those businesses, and a great day for busy consumers,” Ms Lamb said.

“We thank the Commission for hearing our arguments in favour of modernising trading hours for the south-east corner, and creating a more consistent and less-confusing regime.”

The NRA’s application to the Commission called for major stores to be allowed to trade from 7am until 9pm Monday to Saturday.  The application did not seek changes to Sundays and public holidays.

The Full Bench of the Commission granted the application in full.

Ms Lamb said the ruling was a sensible compromise between the needs of shoppers and the home lives and leisure opportunities of retail workers.

“During the hearing, the NRA presented independent economic research showing that the hours sought could add $111 million to the economy, and create 1000 new jobs.  So this will be a very good outcome for Queensland businesses and workers.”

Ms Lamb said the previous requirement that large stores and supermarkets close their doors at 5pm on a Saturday afternoon was enormously frustrating for both shoppers and business owners.

“As we’ve said all along, the 5pm close on Saturdays is an old rule that has not been reviewed in 20 years. The world has changed a lot in that time, and we believe the shopping habits of residents in this large metropolitan region have moved on.”

Ms Lamb said the QIRC’s ruling provided a guide for the Palaszczuk Government’s review of trading hours for the entire state, including Sundays and public holidays. 

“While the NRA restricted this application to the south-east corner, the State Government has since taken it upon itself to examine the appropriateness of the trading hours laws for the whole of Queensland.

“We believe this outcome is a good starting point for the discussion of what would be appropriate state-wide.  Similarly, while we did not ask for any changes to Sundays and public holidays, the ruling for Saturdays would be a good precedent for the review panel to consider.

“Queensland is a modern and dynamic state, and its economy has changed significantly since the trading hours laws were enacted 20 years ago.

“It is pleasing to see both the Commission and the Government recognising the need for modernisation and reform, in order to promote consumer choice and to drive employment and economic activity.”

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