David will take on Goliath
THE Gympie Regional Council and Chamber of Commerce will oppose seven-day trading at a hearing of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission in Gympie next month.
The National Retail Association recently renewed its push with the QIRC to allow for seven-day trading in Gympie, and the matter will be heard in Gympie Magistrates Court on March 7.
Councillor Ian Petersen will make a submission to the hearing on behalf of the council.
Cr Petersen yesterday moved a motion, backed by most councillors, that the Gympie Regional Council "support the independent retailers of Gympie by opposing seven-day trading" and said a recent meeting of small businesses here had clearly indicated that Sunday trading would be the death knell for many, and would have a huge impact on Gympie's sporting community.
Convenience store owners Tim Long and David Henwood said yesterday the council's support gave them a good chance of getting seven-day trading rejected by the commission.
Mr Long said the NRA was basically a front for Woolworths and Coles, and had used misinformation in an attempt to shore up its case for Gympie, one of the last bastions in south-east Queensland where seven-day trading was not allowed.
The council received 48 submissions regarding the matter - 33 were against and 15 were in support of seven-day trading. It also received five petitions with a total of more than 1000 signatures against seven-day trading.
Mr Long said 23 of the small businesses at Centro shopping centre were also opposed to seven-day trading, and had signed a form saying as much, but had been gagged from going public.
Since the commission last reviewed trading hours in Gympie two years ago, seven-day trading has gone to 13 regional centres. The NRA argues Gympie should be able to compete on level terms with other retail infrastructure in south-east Queensland, and that too many shopping dollars are leaking to the Sunshine Coast.