Major stores in Warwick and Stanthorpe will be able to trade on Sundays and public holidays from next month, following a landmark decision handed down by the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.
The QIRC ruled in favour of parallel applications brought by the NRA for the two centres, saying Sunday trading would boost employment, increase consumer choice and support the vital tourism industry in both locations.
The decision follows a week-long hearing in February, which included site visits to each centre.
NRA Chief Executive Officer Dominique Lamb said the Commission was required to test each application against a range of criteria set out in the Trading (Allowable Hours) Act, including the needs of the community, the potential impact on all types of businesses, and the net effect on employment.
“On balance, the Commission found that these two applications met the required criteria, and has ruled that large stores will be able to trade on Sundays and most public holidays from July 12,” Ms Lamb said.
“In the case of Warwick, this will also support smaller businesses in the Rose City Shopping Centre to open if they wish to, when previously the centre was closed because the major traders were forced to shut their doors.”
The Commission’s decision acknowledged independent research by QUT which found 75 per cent support for extended hours in Warwick, with only 22 per cent opposed. In Stanthorpe the figures were 68 per cent in favour and 26 per cent against.
“Consumers who supported the extended hours listed greater choice, convenience, increased employment and extra foot traffic for smaller retailers as their key reasons for backing the proposal,” Ms Lamb said.
The Commission’s judgement said Sunday trading would “… benefit consumers of Warwick and it would assist by unifying the hours of trade with regions adjacent to Warwick”.
“Additionally of benefit to consumers would be the ability to have extended options in regards to grocery shopping and a number of other retail wares.”
The Commission also noted evidence that “on two Sundays in December 2016 when the Rose City Shopping World opened with major retailers able to trade that 6,000 consumers attended the centre over the two days which indicates consumers voting with their feet”.
In determining the Stanthorpe application, the Commission found that: “The consumer interests in Stanthorpe in the view of the Commission would be positively served by the granting of the application.”
A third application for extended trading in Pittsworth was dismissed by the Commission.
Members affected by this decision are encouraged to contact the National Retail Association on 1800 RETAIL (1800 738 245) or via [email protected].