It is time to review Queensland’s shop trading hours framework
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) acknowledges the State Government’s commitment to review Queensland’s shop trading hours framework.
CCIQ Director of Advocacy Nick Behrens said putting aside the government’s decision to create a public holiday for Easter Sunday, CCIQ would fully participate in the review.
“Our position is that Easter Sunday and a review of shop trading hours are two completely separate issues and should not have been linked,” he said.
“Queensland has one of the most complex retail shop trading hours frameworks in the country.
“There are a multitude of geographical trading zones, each with different allowable trading hours and separate arrangements for weekends and public holidays.
“The system is difficult to navigate and creates confusion among small business owners and the community as to whether or not a particular store is allowed to open.
“The highly prescriptive and inconsistent nature of the current framework unfairly disadvantages those small businesses that the regulation seeks to protect.”
Mr Behrens said the framework as it stood only added to the compliance and operational costs of small retail businesses at a time when competitive pressures were acute.
“There is opportunity to improve the current regulation of trading hours to better accommodate the interests of small businesses,” he said.
“But CCIQ does not support full deregulation of shop trading hours, as it is a key mechanism to protect the competitiveness of smaller retailers.”
Mr Behrens warned the review should not be an exercise to broaden the hours that Coles and Woolworths were able to trade throughout Queensland, including Easter Sunday.
“Collectively this duopoly already has 70 per cent market share in food and grocery and the Trading Hours Allowable Act is one of the few instruments to stop this from growing even larger.
“However, there does appear to be broad support for incremental reform to achieve greater simplicity and consistency.
“CCIQ believes carefully targeted reform can help ease the compliance burden and reduce regulatory inconsistencies, ensuring Queensland’s shop trading hours framework continues to support the growth of our state’s small business community.”
“We acknowledge the State Government is genuine in its commitment to review the Act, with a view to enabling small business to compete and grow.
“CCIQ looks forward to participating on the expert panel of key stakeholders to develop trading hours that reflect the needs of small business, which will be chaired by former Speaker John Mickel.”