RETAILERS have called on the State Government to urgently pass legislation allowing major stores to open on Labour Day to stop the farcical scenes seen at a Brisbane supermarket yesterday.
With most supermarkets forced to close for yesterday's Labour Day holiday, shoppers flocked to the Brisbane Airport DFO, where the state's only 24-hour Woolworths was able to open, creating massive queues that snaked around the shop.
Frustrated shopper Ashah Miller from Hamilton said: "I understand the unions and why they do it, but everybody else shouldn't have to (have the day off).
"A lot of people were putting stuff back because they didn't want to wait in line."
Legislation is before State Parliament to liberalise trading hours across the state, but currently supermarkets, department stores, wholesalers and car and caravan dealerships must close on Labour Day as well as Good Friday, Anzac Day and Christmas Day.
National Retail Association chief executive Dominique Lamb said the state's economy was based on tourism and would benefit from an attitude that catered to people who wanted to shop.
"It's our view that Labour Day should be a trading day and retailers should be able to meet the needs of customers," she said.
"There is demand and retailers should be given the right to trade."
Opposition industrial relations spokesman Jarrod Bleijie said the Government had botched the trading hours reforms.
"Trading hours in Queensland are in a complete mess at the moment," he said.
Under current legislation, most other shops were able to trade yesterday but many chose to shut their doors.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland senior policy adviser Catherine Pham said the main issue for these businesses was that they could not turn a profit. "Having to close your doors and restrict trading or choosing to close because being open is not feasible, especially with penalty rates, is certainly detrimental to business," she said.
Additional reporting Anthony Templeton
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