National Retailers Association asks Industrial Commission to fix Parliament’s trading hours mess

The National Retail Association has turned to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission to solve the uncertainty around Christmas shopping caused by the Parliament’s refusal to support sensible trading hours reform last month.

The NRA has lodged an application with the QIRC to allow major shopping centres around south-east Queensland to trade until midnight in the week before Christmas.  NRA Chief Executive Officer Dominique Lamb said the measures had been implemented as a one-off last year, but were included as a permanent fixture in the laws stalled by political game-playing in the Parliament last month.

“Businesses and shoppers need certainty, which would have been delivered by the sensible reform legislation presented to the Parliament by the Palaszczuk Government,” Ms Lamb said.

“The proposed reforms were the result of an open consultation process, and then further negotiations designed to safeguard small retailers.

“Sadly, however, the LNP Opposition and crossbenchers decided they knew better than the review committee and the very experienced retailers who spent time and money putting together submissions to the review.”

Ms Lamb said the NRA had been forced to act quickly to confirm the Christmas shopping hours, with the legislation now stuck in the Parliament.

“While Christmas may seem a long way off, the Parliament’s failure to pass the agreed reforms means we need to act now to ensure certainty for retailers and shoppers.  The QIRC may take several months to deal with an application, so we now have no choice but to get moving.”

Ms Lamb said the NRA was examining a trading hours application to support the Commonwealth Games, which was now also under a cloud as a result of the Parliament’s failure to pass the reforms.

The NRA’s trading hours experts were also considering the possibility of a single large application, or multiple applications, to ask the QIRC to implement the findings of the Mickel Review.

“It’s disappointing that we are being forced down this path,” Ms Lamb said.  “We had hoped that the sensible reforms proposed last month would have put an end to lengthy and expensive trading hours hearings in the Industrial Commission.

“However, with the Parliament refusing to help Queensland retailers remain competitive in the face of the fast-changing global environment, the NRA is prepared to step in.  We will start with this Christmas application, and we will continue working until the Mickel reforms are in place.”

The National Retail Association is Australia’s largest and most representative retail industry association.  It has been serving businesses in the retail and fast food sectors for close to 100 years.

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