Love it or loathe it – it’s no secret that 90s fashion has been seeping into fashion stores all year. I wonder how many teenage girls even realise they’re dressing exactly like their mums did back in their heyday!
But the real irony for south-east Queensland retailers selling out of Rachel’s, Phoebe’s and Monica’s favourite matte brown lipstick, is that up until Friday, they’ve also been restricted to 90s-era trading hours legislation.
Last Friday, after two years and multiple hearings with more than 30 witnesses, the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) unanimously granted the NRA’s application for major stores in south-east Queensland to be allowed to trade from 7am to 9pm, Mondays to Saturdays. In effect, this brings Brisbane closer to far less restrictive systems in cities like Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney.
We have fought long and hard to achieve this sensible compromise between the needs of shoppers and the home lives and leisure opportunities of retail workers. Because, let’s face it, the world has changed and this cosmopolitan area’s trading hours desperately needed to catch up.
The previous requirement that forced large stores and supermarkets to close their doors at 5pm on a Saturday afternoon was particularly frustrating to consumers who, having become accustomed to the 24/7 online world, demand to be able to shop when and how they want. Whilst shoppers are unlikely to change their routines especially if they are passionate about buying local, this change will assist many consumers who work outside of normal business hours – giving them the choice to shop post 5pm Monday to Saturday. Additionally, retailers will also now be open to capture the tourist trade, increasing Queensland’s profile as new shopping destination.
This decision not only means good things for our economy and large retailers but also for many small to medium sized businesses dependant on the foot traffic from these larger stores. Though small retailers have been legally allowed to open, the reality is many have not because without an anchor store businesses do not generate enough foot traffic on their own. This decision will change that.
So come December 1, more than 11,000 stores across more than 250 shopping centres will have the choice, and will be in a position to generate as much as $111 million in additional revenue, and 1000 new jobs.
We believe retail businesses, workers, the tourism industry and the economy will all benefit under a system of greater harmony, consistency and modernity, but also, of greater choice.
Queensland is a modern and dynamic state, with an economy far removed from that of 20 years ago, and we thank the Commission and Government for recognising the need for reform, in order to promote consumer choice and to drive employment and economic activity.