DO WE NEED MORE HOURS? Independent retailers say jobs and customer service will be under threat if large supermarkets are allowed to open earlier.
DO WE NEED MORE HOURS? Independent retailers say jobs and customer service will be under threat if large supermarkets are allowed to open earlier. Rob Williams

Ipswich Council says longer retail hours just cost jobs

A BID to extend retail trading hours in Ipswich's suburbs has met strong opposition from councillors concerned about the effects on small business.

The National Retail Association has proposed standard trading hours throughout south-east Queensland, eliminating the 14 trade zones within the region.

In Ipswich, the town centre allows longer hours while suburban shopping centres are restricted to an 8am opening on weekdays and 8am-5pm on Saturdays.

The NRA proposal would allow an extra hour weekday mornings and extend Saturday trading in line with the new weekday hours, 7am-9pm.

Booval-based councillor Bruce Casos said the changes could sound the death knell for many small businesses such as newsagents and bakeries which relied on the early morning trade.

"Small businesses are under enormous pressure these days from the larger organisations and they now look for their early trading to supplement what they have traditionally been doing," Cr Casos said.

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"This is just another thing that small business will lose to the stage where they won't be viable and we are talking about small family businesses, run by family members, with family finances in our city and we can't stand by and allow this to happen."

Bundamba News closed recently, one of the latest victims of eroded trade for small business.

Cr Casos, whose family has been in small business for generations dating back to the late 1800s when his great grandfather established a buggy building business at West Ipswich, moved that the council oppose the NRA plan so that current trading hours remain.

The stance was backed by Raceview-based councillor Sheila Ireland, previously a small business owner, who said the move by supermarket giants would result in jobs lost in the community.

"We've just had two youth forums and the youth are saying that there is not enough part-time work available in the city of Ipswich," Cr Ireland said.

"If we bring the big stores in line with what the little stores are currently doing, the bigger stores are really going to self serve so they are not putting the staff on to match their hours.

"Everyone says that it is the small businesses that make the economy but we are really driving them out of business."

Mayor Paul Pisasale said if the big supermarket chains were allowed to open around the clock it would destroy small business.

"You've got Woolworths selling petrol, you've got petrol stations trying to be shopping centres, the world is changing but bigger is not better," Cr Pisasale said.

"We have to make sure the independents don't get crushed otherwise you won't have that competitiveness."

IGA Queensland Board chairman and Independent Retailers committee spokesman Tyrone Jones applauded the councillors for their stance.

"The stay on extended trading hours is good for consumers because it maintains competition in the supermarket retailing sector, it supports local businesses that support local communities and local suppliers," Mr Jones said.

"It supports the butcher, the baker, the fruit shop, all small business in retail and the families who need to have time together on the weekend."


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