Craig Warhurst

Daylight saving clouds real issues

THE Gympie community was in two minds about daylight saving yesterday, which is probably better than being in two time zones.

One major concern is that Gympie might become, as one online site put it, “the new Coolangatta,” with daylight saving confined to the official South East Queensland region, which ends at Gympie Region’s southern boundary.

Mayor Ron Dyne warned of a business and economic disaster, with disruption to all the thousands of workers, business people, transport operators and students who commute daily between Gympie and the Sunshine Coast.

He was commenting on Bligh Government moves to test public opinion on daylight saving in South East Queensland, an announcement which seemed to be modified during the day with suggestions that Queensland MPs would be asked to make submissions on the idea.

“If Noosa is the cut-off point then we are going to have all the problems they have at Coolangatta and Tweed Heads,’ Cr Dyne said.

We have business and educational involvements that require that we be in the same time zone. I’d rather see the cut-off line somewhere north of Rockhampton if they are going to it as a slice of the state.

“But if they are going to cut the state in two, why not divide it into east and west, along the time zone boundaries that we already have?”

A special daylight saving meeting of the Bligh Government caucus yesterday moved towards giving all Queenslanders a say in the issue.

Premier Anna Bligh asked all local MPs of all parties to provide feedback by mid-May on their support or opposition for the introduction of a South East Queensland daylight saving trial and a referendum, potentially from next summer.

The Premier also opened an on-line forum, offering direct contact with her on the split-zone trial.

“Our government has previously categorically ruled out daylight saving for the entire state and we remain opposed to any consideration in that regard,” she said.

It was a view which one expert says is bound to alienate the business community, especially along the time zone boundary.

“Aligning times along the eastern seaboard would be a big step forward for all businesses south of Townsville, Griffith University small business expert Owen Wright said yesterday.

He said research had shown that small businesses were indifferent about daylight saving but did want times aligned, whether it's daylight saving or regular time.

“Most businesses, small or otherwise have many affiliations interstate, especially in New South Wales and Victoria,” he said.

“The effects of daylight saving have a strong impact on the administrative side of most small businesses. Anecdotal evidence is that business people don't care, so long as we are all in the same zone,” he said.

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