Mayor Mark Jamieson has gone into bat for small retailers on the Coast by backing opposition to a proposal which could devastate mum and dad businesses across the region.
The National Retail Association, which represents some of Australia’s biggest companies, wants longer trading hours in south east Queensland for their members on Saturdays.
The Mayor said if the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission approves the proposal it could be disastrous for small traders – many of whom have been doing it tough in recent years.
“Small businesses are the backbone of the Sunshine Coast economy – so we need to make sure they are given a fair go,” Mr Jamieson said.
“Recent Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show more than 93% of retailers on the Sunshine Coast are small businesses which employ less than 20 people each.
“In terms of trading hours, I think the balance is right at the moment”.
“The existing spread of hours already enables people to shop on the weekends and till 9.00pm on weeknights.
“The current arrangements – which afford extended trading hours for smaller retailers on a Saturday – gives them a small reprieve from the head to head battle with the retails giants.
“If the proposal to extend Saturday evening trading to big retailers is approved – it could see the end of some mum and dad businesses and the jobs they generate.
“The ripple effect of small businesses closing would have serious consequences for other local businesses which either source products from them, or sell to them.
“I am also aware that the National Retail Association has previously stated that extended trading hours, may not necessarily mean more employment opportunities.
“As a Mayor who is determined to strengthen our economy, I welcome the contribution made by all retailers, including the substantial investment and jobs provided by the big retailers – but we need to maintain the right balance.”
The Chair of the Sunshine Coast Chambers of Commerce Alliance Stephen Dittmann has also supported the call for trading hours to remain the same.
“Small retailers need all the help they can get – current trading hours give them a chance to be competitive,” Mr Dittmann said.
The Mayor has written to the United Retail Federation, which represents smaller retailers, to support its submission to oppose the extended trading hours application for larger retailers.
The National Retail Association has applied to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission to allow big retailers to be able to open from 7am to 7pm on Saturdays in south east Queensland.
At the moment, their trading hours are from 8.00am to 5:30pm.