Common sense set to prevail on shop trading hours’ reform
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) is pleased to see a common-sense approach by the crossbenchers on shop trading hours’ reform.
One of the crossbenchers issued a media release today saying they could not support the Palaszczuk Government’s proposed Trading (Allowable Hours) Amendment Bill 2017.
Cairns Independent MP Rob Pyne said in a statement: “Rob and fellow crossbenchers Robbie Katter, Shane Knuth, Billy Gordon and Steve Dickson, said they could not in good conscience support a Bill that gave more power to supermarket giants Coles and Woolworths”.
CCIQ General Manager of Advocacy Kate Whittle had discussed with Queensland politicians how the shop trading hours’ reform would impact severely on small businesses, particularly in regional Queensland.
“In discussions this week, it was extremely pleasing to see the crossbenchers support small businesses in regional Queensland and their strong commitments to ensuring the businesses they represent are given every possible chance to remain competitive,” she said.
Ms Whittle said the feedback from the business community was that many were deeply concerned about the market dominance of major corporate organisations and how the new trading hours would benefit them.
“CCIQ recognises the need to cut red tape and confusion that currently exists, while opposing the full deregulation of trading hours,” she said.
“Queensland’s trading hours’ arrangements as they stand undeniably offer independent businesses, especially those in regional areas, their last competitive edge by allowing them to trade when non-exempt stores are required to remain closed.”
Ms Whittle said CCIQ believed more could be done to ensure the ongoing competitiveness of independent retailers, by way of amendments to the Liquor Act 1992, to allow independent retailers to participate in the packaged liquor market, as well as changes to the Retail Shop Leases Act 1994, to curb the commercially predatory practices of landlords in the retail property market.
“While CCIQ supports a simplification of the previous system of complex boundaries, we are overwhelmingly pleased to see strong support from the crossbenchers to afford small businesses every opportunity to remain competitive by voting this Bill down in Queensland Parliament today.
“CCIQ believes that ultimately the large monopoly/duopoly will benefit from the Bill, as it reduces the competitiveness of independent stores.
“Most independent and small businesses believe there is no way they will benefit from the proposed changes. They believe that they are in fact in a worse-off position.
“So, by not introducing the reforms, common sense will prevail and help these businesses, many of whom are struggling to keep their doors open in regional Queensland.”