A missed opportunity for deregulated shop trading hours in Queensland, ARA

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) says it’s disappointing the Queensland Parliamentary Committee examining the state’s retail trading hours in its review of the Trading (Allowable Hours) Bill has failed to recommend full deregulation. Deregulation would have provided consumers greater choice and retailers with the flexibility to open when they want.

ARA CEO Paul Zahra said full deregulation would have boosted Queensland’s post-pandemic economic recovery by creating jobs and supporting local retail trade in the community.

“Queensland’s approach to trading hours to date has resulted in a lack of uniformity and uncertainty between locations and different types of retailers. The current approach creates complexity and confusion for consumers,” Mr Zahra said.

“The ARA’s position remains consistent that complete deregulation of trading hours is desperately needed across Queensland.

“Deregulation would have given consumers greater choice about when, where and how they shop. Retail is a global industry and consumers can shop whenever they like online, including with offshore businesses. Deregulation would help keep that local spending power in the local community and in regional centres.

“While the Queensland Government will press ahead with some partial deregulation in its Bill, we don’t believe this goes far enough. Only full deregulation will meet the modern-day needs of consumers,” he said.

“It would provide additional hours and wages for existing employees, which will boost economic activity in the local community, as well as potentially increase employment opportunities.

“Deregulation will enhance competition, not decrease it, as other stakeholders claim. Increased competition will ultimately result in better pricing outcomes for consumers.

“While we’re disappointed the Queensland Government won’t progress with full deregulation, we’ll continue our advocacy to ensure the state’s retail businesses and consumers get better outcomes on when, where and how people can shop,” Mr Zahra concluded.

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