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Queensland needs to stop running scared from daylight saving

A peak employer group is urging both major parties in Queensland to stop running scared from daylight saving as businesses face another summer season of high costs and disruption.

The Australian Industry Group has written to Premier Annastacia Palasczcuk and Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington asking for a fresh assessment of the economic and social cost of the summer time chaos.

This follows a recent Ai Group survey showing 85% of businesses are opposed the current status quo on daylight saving.

The survey also shows that many businesses are less inclined to invest and place jobs in Queensland due to the summer time difference between Queensland and the southern states.

The YouGov Galaxy poll published in The Courier-Mail today also showed the majority of Queenslanders now support a return to daylight saving.

Ai Group Queensland Head Shane Rodgers said it was too important an issue for the political parties to keep running away from it.

"Queensland's economy and people are integrally linked with the major business hubs in New South Wales and Victoria," he said.

"Being out of line on time zones for half the year is yet another major cost for businesses in South-East Queensland at a time when companies are battling to stay competitive in a rising cost environment.

"This issue needs to be put firmly back onto the policy agenda and we need to have a proper economic and social exploration of the impact of the issue based on 2018 paradigms.

"Aligning Queensland's time zones with the southern states is supported by the vast majority of business and the majority of the population.

"A lot has changed since the last referendum on the subject 26 years ago.

"We need to make sure we are having the right discussion on this issue. This is not simply a question of whether most Queenslanders support daylight saving for lifestyle reasons.

"The most pertinent question is whether those opposed to daylight saving are prepared to tolerate it to keep jobs and investment in Queensland and avoid adding to the already high business cost base in the State.

"There is clearly strong opposition to daylight saving in some regional areas. But have we really explored how some of those concerns can be mitigated through greater flexibility in these regions in circumstances where rigid times are an impediment?

"The daylight-saving legislation introduced by the Goss Government in 1990 envisaged this type of flexibility in hours of employment, trade, schooling 'or other matters of concern'. The potential for this approach was never given a chance to be fully explored.

"A whole generation of Queenslanders have never been asked their opinion on daylight saving. They should have the right to have a view on the issue and the people of Queensland deserve a mature evaluation free of the hysteria and nonsense that often plagues the discussion.

"The business community is tired of its very real and genuine concerns on this issue being dismissed almost like a reflex reaction every time daylight saving is raised.

"Just because the issue is divisive doesn’t mean we should run away from it. There are a lot of divisive issues in our community. We elect leaders to deal with these and make calls based on the best interests of the State.

"We currently have the unusual situation where both major parties are aligned against the interests of industry and most likely against the view of the majority of the population. That is not sustainable," Mr Rodgers said.

The Ai Group survey also showed that:

  • 72% of the business surveyed supported daylight saving being introduced across Queensland. A further 13% supported two different summer time zones within Queensland (meaning 85% in total support changing the status quo);
  • Almost one in three businesses said daylight saving had a "significant impact" on their business and most of the remaining companies reported a minor impact; and
  • About 31% of Brisbane businesses, and 25% outside of Brisbane, have to alter work hours for staff in summer due to the time differences.

Statement from Australian Industry Group Queensland Head, Shane Rodgers

For further comment:
Shane Rodgers – 0423 021 268