Master Grocers Australia (MGA) has said that the Queensland Trading Hours Amendment Bill 2017 is, at last, a win for small retailers in the state.

MGA said that the Palaszczuk Government had finally listened to small independent retailers after delivering on its promise to grant a five-year moratorium on any further changes to trading hours laws.

Jos de Bruin of Master Grocers Australia said: “For years small businesses have lived in constant fear of trading hours deregulation. The frequent applications to the Queensland Industrial Relations Tribunal for extended trading hours have resulted in massive financial losses for small retailers and the closure of many stores.

“At last the Government has understood the plight of small businesses and provided a respite from the escalating number of applications by larger retailers in their grab for more trading time.”

He added: “The proposed five-year moratorium will allow hundreds of small businesses to face greater certainty in the future.

“If the original changes were to be made to the law on the scale that was originally proposed and supported by the Chains they would have resulted in their total dominance of the retail industry and the devastation of small businesses in Queensland. The big stores argued for years that they would increase employment and help to grow Queensland. Where is the increased employment that they promised? Queensland unemployment is still drastically low and would get lower if small retailers are forced to close.”

However, National Retail Association chief executive Dominque Lamb, branded the reforms as “farcical”, saying: “Queensland retailers have been fighting with one arm tied behind their backs as they are forced to close their doors and hand the market over to internet stores and overseas competition from the likes of Amazon,” she said.

“Now their state government has tied the other arm behind their backs as well.”

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace described the legislation as a “great step forward”, adding, “There’s a lot of benefits in this piece of legislation. I think the negotiated outcome that we’re about to debate in the house is a good compromise and I think it’s going to take trading hours very far.”

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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