The oppressive nature of trading hours’ restrictions on Queensland businesses has long been known. However, state premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has recognised the need for reforming these archaic laws.
Regulating trading hours reduces the capacity of businesses to meet the demand of consumers, lessening their purchasing flexibility and choice. In a state where there are 99 different trading hours’ provisions, Sunday alone having 30, the move to liberalise trading hours by the Palaszczuk government is welcome.
Some of the main reforms include standardising Sunday and public holiday trading, making butchers exempt from all trading restrictions, allowing hardware stores to open at 6am Monday to Sunday, allowing car and caravan shops to open on Sundays, and increasing the quota of staff that retail stores can have working at one time.
Ms. Palaszczuk found that the review “… made it very clear that the patch-work of overregulation of trading hours no longer suits our modern lifestyles.”
The premier continued: “For 20 years, Queensland Governments have known our trading hours were draconian and a handbrake on jobs.”
Reports have estimated that a moderate deregulation would have a positive economic benefit of up to $253 million. Whilst a bolder agenda could grow the state economy by $440 million and generate the equivalent of 3,109 full-time jobs. With a growing percentage of the workforce demanding greater flexibility of working hours, these initiatives will grow the part-time employment space.
The end result is a victory for businesses, workers and consumers.
Institute of Public Affairs Researcher, Michael Husek, made a submission to the Queensland trading hours review, stating that:
“Trading restrictions are a remnant of Australia’s past, and are in contradiction with the modern demands of consumers.”
“Eliminating these laws would have a significantly positive effect, allowing businesses to generate more profit, giving workers more job opportunities and more flexible work hours, and enhancing the ability of consumers to shop in a manner that is convenient with their lifestyles.”
By deregulating trading hours’ restrictions, the Queensland government has encouraged local businesses to prosper.
The Institute of Public Affairs encourages the premier to liberalise industry and consumers further by abolishing the obsolete laws entirely. It is only with full autonomy that businesses can meet the demands of their consumers and staff, enabling the state economy to flourish beyond its current capacity.
Jake Fraser is a Researcher at the Institute of Public Affairs