WHEN tourists flock to the Sunshine Coast this Easter, they will find our largest shopping centres closed.
Due to Easter Sunday falling immediately before Anzac Day, our top shopping precincts will be shut on Good Friday, Easter Sunday and the Anzac Day holiday on Easter Monday.
That will leave Easter Saturday as the only day tourists will be able to shop at Sunshine Plaza, Stockland Caloundra, Kawana Shoppingworld and Noosa Civic.
The centres have been unable to trade on Easter Sunday since 2002 but the designation of Easter Monday as the Anzac Day public holiday this year created a dilemma which saw the National Retailers Association apply to allow Easter Sunday trading.
That was rejected last week by the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.
NRA director Gary Black said it was a “diabolical issue” for Coast retailers.
“We don’t have control over cyclones or the Japanese disasters that affect tourism numbers,” Mr Black said.
“But this is an issue we should have control over.”
The union that represents retail workers has opposed any change to trading hours.
Shop, Distributive & Allied Employees’ Association branch secretary Chris Ketter said it was a “huge win” to ensure major shopping areas did not trade.
“Most employees look forward to the Easter period as a traditional opportunity to spend time with family or to attend church services,” he said.
The legislation ensures retail employees have some opportunity over the Easter period to participate in family and religious activities.”
Mr Black said consumers wanted to browse and shop while on holiday and to ignore that was to damage our tourism industry.
“We attract these people through tourism marketing budgets to drive them in here and then we close our shops.
“In New South Wales there are 30 to 40 holiday zones that have no restrictions.”
Areas including Toowoomba, Hervey Bay, Cairns and Mackay will all be able to trade on Easter Sunday. It is primarily south-east Queensland that is left out.
“There has to be a change in legislation,” Mr Black said.
Maroochydore Chamber of Commerce chair Myles McNamara said the tourism industry should be the state’s top priority right now.
“It’s a double-edged sword for business and tourism, having five days off,” he said.
“But broadly, anything that can be done for our tourism industry should be done.”
All four shopping centres are closed on Good Friday (April 22), Easter Sunday (April 24) and Anzac Day (April 25).
April 23 (Easter Sat): 10am – 4pm
April 26 (Easter Mon hol): 10am – 4pm.
April 23 (Easter Sat): 9am – 5.30pm
April 26 (Easter Mon hol): 10.30am – 4pm.
April 23 (Easter Sat): 9:00am to 5:30pm
April 26 (Easter Mon hol): 10:30am – 4pm
April 23 (Easter Sat): 8am – 6pm
April 26 (Easter Mon hol): 9am – 6pm.
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