Craig Warhurst

Seven-day decision still pending

THE fate of seven-day trading in Gympie remains undecided, with a decision still pending from the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.

But in an ominous sign for small businesses fighting it here, Maryborough, Bundaberg and Bargara have all fallen to seven-day trading in recent weeks.

Mayor Ron Dyne and the Gympie Chamber of Commerce are still upbeat about stopping it but Member for Gympie David Gibson has pointed out the pros and cons of what seems "inevitable".

"The real question now is what will seven-day trading mean for our community?" Mr Gibson said.

"Are we going to see the smaller chain stores manned by skeleton staff - maybe just one bored teenager on the minimum wage standing all alone by the register? Or will this be the demise of online shopping as we abandon the special free delivery deal to actually venture out to physically buy what we need on a Sunday?

"The answer is most likely yes and no.

"It is easy to rally against the major supermarkets, blaming them as being some type of evil tyrant hell bent on destroying the little guy. But that ignores an uncomfortable but ultimately important factor - us the consumers.

"What are we prepared to do to support our local businesses? Is shopping convenience the only thing that we care about? Or do we really care about something more?

"Let us not forget that seven day trading is not without its consequences, some good and some not so good."

COC president Ben Ellingsen said the Maryborough, Bundaberg and Bargara councils had not opposed the application, unlike Gympie.

"Council would be the most 'independent' of all parties involved and so additional weight should be given to their position," he said.

"Small and medium business makes up over 95% of all business in Australia. Therefore, our governments and law makers need to be governing and ruling in a way that helps these businesses, not hinder them."

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