Woolworths wants to stay open longer in Queensland regions

WOOLWORTHS has renewed its push to stay open longer in Queensland, including on public holidays, in a move that could threaten smaller, independent operators.

The grocery giant has told a Productivity Commission inquiry that Queensland's trading hours are too restrictive and complicated and costing the state's economy tens of millions of dollars a year as well as local jobs.

Woolworths wants to stay open longer on some weekends and trade on Boxing Day, Easter Sunday and Labour Day, News Corp reported.

"Trading hours in Queensland are regulated by (an Act that) runs over 57 pages plus eight pages of regulations," Woolworths said in its submission. 

"On Saturdays, shops in southeast Queensland must close by 5pm but in inner-city Brisbane by 5.30pm, in the city heart of inner-city Brisbane by 7pm, in New Farm by 9pm and in the Gold Coast tourist area by 10pm.

"Stores are not able to vary trading hours in response to customer demand arising from local conditions such as seasonal variations, weather events and community festivals."

Woolworths highlighted 20 regional towns across the state where it was prevented from opening on Sunday.

"Allowing these stores to trade on Sundays would immediately create new employment opportunities in regional towns and extend the convenience of Sunday trading currently being enjoyed elsewhere," it said.

Do you support Woolworths' push for longer trading hours?

This poll ended on 09 July 2014.

Current Results

Yes. Shops should be allowed to open as long as they want

47%

No. It would hurt the little retailers too much

16%

No. Workers need some family time as well

24%

Yes. It would create a lot of local jobs

12%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Earlier this month two interim reports from the Productivity Commission found the retail sector is being weighed down by "unnecessary regulations".

Among the unusual rules the commission cited was one which said retailers that sold outdoor and indoor lighting had more trading hour restrictions than those selling only outdoor lighting.

Commissioner Patricia Scott said trading hours - an issue forming a part of the growing political industrial relations battle - were also costing retailers.

"Costly regulations are holding business and employment back, like the ongoing restrictions on trading hours on Sundays in South Australia, West Australia and Queensland," she said.

"The Queensland Competition Authority says these restrictions cost Queensland $200 million a year."

The Queensland Government appears unlikely to push for trading hour restrictions to be lifted, citing the impact it would have on smaller retailers.


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