[Extract from Queensland Government Industrial Gazette,
dated 3 August, 2007, Vol. 185, No. 14, pages 287-307]
QUEENSLAND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS COMMISSION
Trading (Allowable Hours) Act 1990 - s. 21 - trading hours orders on non-exempt shops
National Retail Association Limited, Union of Employers AND Queensland Retail Traders and Shopkeepers
Association (Industrial Organization of Employers) and Others (TH/2007/2)
DEPUTY PRESIDENT SWAN
COMMISSIONER THOMPSON 23 July 2007
This is an application made by the National Retail Association Limited, Union of Employers (NRA) which seeks to
amend clause 3.2 and Schedule 1 of the Trading Hours - Non-Exempt Shops Trading by Retail - State (Trading Hours
Order) pursuant to s. 21 of the Trading (Allowable Hours) Act 1990 (the Trading Act) in the following terms:
"1. By deleting from clause 3.2(10) the heading 'Townsville Tourist Area' and inserting the following in lieu thereof:
'Townsville and Thuringowa Area'
2. By deleting clause 9 from Schedule 1 (Definitions) and inserting the following lieu thereof:
'(9) The Townsville and Thuringowa Area - The local authority areas of the cities of Townsville and
Section 21 of the Trading Act states:
"21 Trading hours orders on non-exempt shops
(1) A full bench of the industrial commission may decide trading hours for non-exempt shops.
(1A) However, the full bench is not to decide trading hours that are less than the following hours on a stated day,
other than a public holiday -
(a) 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. for Monday to Friday;
(b) 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. for Saturday.
(2) The Full Bench may make any order it considers necessary or convenient to give effect to a decision made
under subsection (1), including, for example, an order specifying -
(a) the earliest time when non-exempt shops may open on any day and the latest time when non-exempt shops
must close on any day; or
(b) hours for trading wholesale different from the hours fixed for trading retail; or
(c) different trading hours by reference to -
(i) classes of non-exempt shops; or
(ii) localities, or parts of localities, where non-exempt shops are situated.".
The current definition of the "Townsville Tourist Area" in the Trading Hours Order is as follows:
"(9) The Townsville Tourist Area - The area within the following boundaries:
Commencing at the junction of Morris Street and Flinders Street; thence along Flinders Street to Bridge Street;
thence by Bridge Street to the railway line; thence by the railway line to its junction with Ross Creek; thence
by the northern bank of that creek to a point in a direct line with the Strand; thence along the Strand to its
junction with Howitt Street; thence along Howitt Street to its junction with Warburton Street; thence in a
southerly direction along Warburton, Eyre, Oxley and Denham Streets to the junction of Denham Street and
Wills Street; thence along Wills Street to its junction with Blackwood Street; thence along Blackwood Street to
its junction with Walker Street; thence along Walker Street to its junction with Morris Street; thence along
Morris Street to its junction with Flinders Street:
Provided that any premises facing onto any of the named streets shall be deemed to be within the defined area.
Note: The Townsville Tourist Area includes the area known as The Townsville Central Business District - The
area within the following boundaries:
Commencing at the junction of Morris Street and Flinders Street; then along Flinders Street to Bridge Street;
then by Bridge Street to the Railway Line; then by the Railway Line to its junction with Ross Creek; then by
the Northern Bank of that creek to a point in a direct line with the Strand; then along the Strand to its junction
with Melton Terrace; then along Melton Terrace to its junction with Denham Street; then along Denham Street
to its junction with Wills Street; then along Wills Street to its junction with Blackwood Street; then along
Blackwood Street to its junction with Walker Street; then along Walker Street to its junction with Morris
Street; then along Morris Street to its junction with Flinders Street.".
The current allowable trading hours of non-exempt shops in the "Townsville Tourist Area" are as follows:
"(10) Townville Tourist Area:
Opening Time Closing Time
Monday to Friday 8.00 a.m. 9.00 p.m.
Saturday 8.00 a.m. 5.30 p.m.
Sunday 9.00 a.m. 6.00 p.m.
Public Holidays (as defined) 8.30 a.m. 5.30 p.m.
(excluding Good Friday, 25 April, Labour Day, 25 December).".
The application was opposed in its entirety by the Queensland Retail Traders and Shopkeepers Association (Industrial
Organization of Employers) (QRTSA).
The Australian Workers' Union of Employees, Queensland (AWU) stated in correspondence dated 11 May 2007:
"... subject to minor witness cross-examination, the AWU wishes to advise that it consents to the application made
by the National Retail Association.".
Mr T. Bligh, who represented Townsville City Council (TCC) at the substantive hearing, opposed the application to the
extent that it would allow trading in suburban non-exempt retail stores between 9.00 a.m. and 11.00 a.m. on a Sunday.
TCC expressed a desire to strike a balance between the competing social and community views and the interests of TCC
in the Cotters' Market and central business district (CBD) revitalisation.
In correspondence dated 27 April 2007, Cr. Les Tyrell, Mayor of the City of Thuringowa stated:
"Council at its Ordinary Meeting held on 3 April 2007, considered the matter of the National Retail Association's
(NRA) application for Sunday Trading in the City of Thuringowa and subsequently resolved not to oppose the
National Retail Association's application for Sunday trading on the basis that it is not compulsory for retailers to
open or employees to work on Sundays.".
The Full Bench was taken on a series of inspections over a 2 day period. The following locations were visited:
Woodlands Shopping Centre;
Parkside Plaza Shopping Centre;
IGA Bamford Lane;
Willows Shopping Centre;
Sunland Shopping Centre;
IGA Centre Rasmussen;
Annandale Shopping Centre;
Stockland Shopping Centre;
Centro Shopping Centre;
Domain Central Shopping Centre;
Woolcock Street Retailers;
Castletown Shopping Centre;
Hyde Park Centre;
North Ward Shopping Village;
Townsville CBD; and
During the inspections, Townsville Enterprise Limited, as the peak economic development, marketing and promotional
organisation for the North Queensland region, provided a presentation on the major factors of the North Queensland
economy. The North Queensland region centres on the cities of Townsville, Thuringowa and Charters Towers. The
region also encompasses the shires of Dalrymple, Burdekin, Cardwell and Hinchinbrook.
Key statistical data for the North Queensland region includes:
the region's population is 205,000, at a growth rate of 2.2%;
the population forecast for the region is 262,000 by 2026;
$11.6 billion gross regional product (GRP) in the 2005-2006 year. This represents 7.1% of the Queensland
economy and has increased by 12.4% from the previous year; and
the region is Australia's 10th most popular regional area and 15th most popular region for international visitors.
Regional statistics focussing on the Townsville and Thuringowa areas are as follows:
the population of the Townsville and Thuringowa area is 165,000;
Thuringowa is the fastest growing area with a forecast 2.2% growth rate per annum until 2026;
$2.5 billion will be expended in CBD developments which includes accommodation, retail and residential
a total of 4,290,000 domestic and 1,141,946 international visitor nights are spent in the Townsville region;
an increase in air capacity providing an additional 14,000 seats per week into Townsville Airport. There is now
direct access to all eastern seaboard capital cities; and
development of the Townsville Ocean Terminal to be operational by 2009.
A number of documents produced and admitted as exhibits in this hearing are self-explanatory. A brief summary of the
direct evidence is as follows:
Mr Wallace is the Regional Retail Support Manager in Queensland for Woolworths Limited (Woolworths).
Mr Wallace has been employed by Woolworths for a period of 18 years.
Woolworths has approximately 700 supermarkets Australia-wide, 17 of these stores trade in regional areas on
Woolworths employs approximately 23,000 employees in Queensland.
Woolworths has 8 stores in total located in the Townsville and Thuringowa area. Primarily, CBD; Hermit Park;
Nathan Plaza and Castletown fall within the TCC locality; and stores at Kirwan; Willows; Woodlands and
Vincent Village are located within the Thuringowa City Council area.
Woolworths stores in the greater Brisbane area have traded on Sundays since August 2002. The average
percentage of weekly sales for these stores is 12.71%.
After the introduction of Sunday trading in the Nambour and Beerwah stores, statistical data shows these stores
experienced 9% and 11% distribution of weekly trade, respectively.
The Townsville CBD store has traded on Sundays since 1995. This store experiences 23% of average weekly
sales being transacted on a Sunday.
Saturday is the traditional busiest day of the week for Woolworths. If the application is granted, the additional
o relieve register congestion;
o allow a wider and fresher range of products within the meat and bakery departments;
o allow a more appropriate use and better efficiency of energy resources; and
o provide an efficient work environment for staff from a more consistent process of scheduled deliveries
and stock replenishment.
If the application is granted, Woolworths' employees will be rostered to work on a voluntary basis. This is
consistent with the current Woolworths certified agreement.
The extension of trading hours in the Townsville and Thuringowa area will result in an increase in employment
by approximately 146 hours per week per store. This equates to approximately 27 full-time equivalent positions
being generated by the 7 stores (excluding CBD store). In addition, additional employment/shifts will be
required in the regional distribution centre in Townsville and the contracted service areas (i.e. cleaning and
Ms Zarate is the Store Manager of the Townsville City Beach store in the Stockland Shopping Centre. She has
managed this store for 5 years.
City Beach operates 47 stores Australia-wide, with a total of 2,854 store-based employees.
City Beach operates 28 stores in Queensland, with 4 of these stores in regional Queensland, 10 stores in
Queensland tourist areas, and the remaining 14 stores in the greater Brisbane area.
Statistics have shown the busiest period for the Townsville store occurs towards the end of the week. If the
application is granted, this trend would extend to Sunday trading and would increase total weekly sales by
An increase in total weekly sales would contribute to increased employment with an approximate average of
48 hours employment being created. This would be sourced from existing employees on a voluntary basis,
university students or other income earners who prefer to work on weekends and public holidays.
Mr Williams and his wife have owned and operated the Kirwan Licensed Post Office in the Parklands Plaza
Shopping Centre since January 2001. They provide a range of traditional post office services on a 7 day a week
Mr and Mrs Williams have lived in the Townsville and Thuringowa area for a period of 11 years.
Whilst the post office currently trades on Sundays, the main tenant of the Parklands Plaza Shopping Centre
remains closed. If the application is granted, this tenant would be open and, therefore, would attract additional
trade to the centre, significantly improving the trade of the post office.
Mr Goktas is the Marketing Manager of Origin Kebabs.
At present, Origin Kebabs operates 15 stores in Queensland. A further 3 stores are under construction, namely:
Dubbo; Melbourne Cricket Ground and Castletown Shopping Centre in Townsville.
The current stores all trade on Sundays and record 16% of the average weekly sales. Approximately
60 employees (excluding managers and owners) are employed in these stores on Sundays.
Mr Fotinos is the franchisee of Terry White Chemist in the Stockland Shopping Centre. Mr Fotinos has owned
and operated this business since 2001.
Whilst Mr Fotinos' pharmacy is permitted to trade 7 days, the Stockland Centre is closed for Sunday trading
which results in the pharmacy being closed on Sundays.
Weekly average percentage of sales for the pharmacy are 75% retail-based and 25% prescription-based.
Pharmacies are becoming more reliant on sales of health and beauty products rather than prescription-based sales
due to the Federal Government's cost control measures which apply to prescription medicines.
Mr Fotinos' pharmacy competes with other pharmacies which currently trade 7 days. He is aware through
working at his father's CBD pharmacy on Sundays that their best retail trading day is Sunday.
Mr Thorpe is the Manager - Retail Property Management for McConaghy Properties.
McConaghy Properties owns and operates 4 shopping centres in Queensland and northern New South Wales.
These centres are located at Kingaroy, Roma, Lismore and Castletown Shopping Centre in Townsville.
Lismore Shopping Square is the only centre in the group that presently is permitted to trade 7 days, with 12.04%
of the weekly trade distribution occurring on Sundays.
Trading is not compulsory for retailers in the Lismore centre. An average of 80% of retailers are open on
Sundays within the centre.
Castletown Shopping Centre has been owned and operated by McConaghy Properties since 1987. It presently
consists of 3 major retailers and 110 speciality stores. The centre has undergone major expansion in 1989, 1997
Mr Thorpe believes that if the application is not granted their centre will be disadvantaged by:
o difficulty in attracting major retailers and national chain stores to the centre;
o increased competition from new retail format centres (i.e. homemaker centres, direct factory outlets);
o a non-level retail playing field in the regional area;
o rising costs attributable to Government taxes and charges not being recovered from tenants; and
o not being in a position to provide retail services to customers who enjoy shopping for leisure and
Mr Devenish is the Regional Manager for Queensland for Best & Less Pty Ltd (Best & Less). He has been in
this position for 3.5 years, with the company for 17.5 years and has some 19 years retail experience.
Best & Less has operated nationally since 1965, and opened its first store in Queensland in 1976.
Best & Less operates 163 stores Australia-wide, with 42 stores located in Queensland. The location of the
Queensland stores is divided between 19 stores in the Brisbane metropolitan area, 10 stores in tourist areas and
13 stores in regional areas.
Best & Less currently employs 5,095 employees Australia-wide, with 1,231 employees in stores across
Mr Devenish is responsible for 18 stores in the Queensland Best & Less group.
The stores affected by this application, if granted, are the Best & Less store in the CBD and the store located in
the Stockland Nathan Plaza Shopping Centre. The CBD store presently trades on Sunday and records 20.65% of
the weekly sales occurring on Sundays.
Best & Less stores in regional areas of New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania demonstrate weekly sales
figures of between 6.9% to 15.4% on Sundays.
Best & Less believe, if the application is granted, the Stockland Nathan Plaza store would record approximately
7% to 10% of their weekly sales on Sundays. The store would operate with one store manager and
approximately 6 to 10 staff.
Sunday trading at the Stockland Nathan Plaza store would generate an additional 60 hours of employment per
week. Staffing would be on a voluntary basis and, if required, new employees would be recruited.
Ms Bowtell is the Centre Manager for the Stockland Townsville Shopping Centre.
The Stockland centre has 141 retail tenants, with 6 of them comprising major retailers.
Stockland has owned and operated the centre since 1989. Major refurbishments to the centre were carried out in
1992, 2003 and 2005. Currently it is in the process of finalising a further refurbishment and expansion of the
centre at an approximate cost of $100 million.
The competition of traditional shopping centres is emerging through the new retail formats of homemaker
centres, direct factory outlets and large stand-alone retailers.
The closure of the Stockland centre on Sundays limits the growth and employment potential of the centre and its
related tenants and service suppliers (i.e. cleaners, security personnel).
Market research has identified that escape expenditure is $46 million per annum. Escape expenditure is defined
as the expenditure of local residents who leave the area on weekends to shop in other areas such as Cairns or
Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that the proportion of families with both parents working has
increased from 50.6% in 1993 to 57.5% in 2003. The changing demographic is becoming a major challenge for
families to balance work and family commitments.
Ms Sullivan is the Centre Manager of Willows Shoppingtown. The centre is managed by DB RReef Retail
Property Services Pty Ltd.
DB RReef also manages the Sunland Shopping Centre and the Cannon Park Shopping Centre which are located
adjacent to the Willows centre. Both the Sunland and Cannon Park centres currently trade on Sundays.
The Willows centre comprises 3 major retailers and approximately 80 specialty stores. Currently only
approximately one-third of the centre's tenants trade on Sundays.
Ms Sullivan believes the current trading hours arrangements in the Townsville and Thuringowa area creates a
confusing environment with some retailers permitted to trade on Sundays when others are not.
A new homemaker centre, Domain Central has been developed in stages between 2005 and 2007. Domain
Central's retail precinct will trade over 7 days.
The current trading hours restrictions in the Townsville and Thuringowa area is resulting in escape expenditure
being directed to other regions, namely Brisbane and Cairns.
The Townsville and Thuringowa area is experiencing an expanding economy and population growth. DB RReef
believes that 7 day trading in the region is required due to:
o the relocation of 800 defence force personnel and 700 support staff from Sydney;
o an increase in tourism visitation by 18% in the previous financial year;
o the planning and development to accommodate a highly mobile population due to the defence forces, the
mining boom and interstate migration for lifestyle purposes;
o the planning and development of a new cruise ship terminal; and
o the construction and development of the Nelly Bay harbour and marina on Magnetic Island.
Mr McBryde is the National Lease Administration Manager for the Colorado Group.
The Colorado group operates 434 stores Australia-wide. In Queensland, the group operates 122 stores, with 7 of
those stores being in the Townsville and Thuringowa area.
The Colorado group operates under the store names of Colorado, Mathers, Williams the Shoemen, Jag, Diana
Ferrari and Pairs.
Williams the Shoemen store in the Townsville CBD currently trades on Sundays and performs at a rate of 21.8%
of weekly sales.
Trading performance in Australia-wide stores (excluding Queensland) located in regional shopping centres on
Sundays is between 7.26% to 15.22% of weekly sales. Weekend trading is, therefore, between 26% and 29% of
Employees will be asked to work on a voluntary basis for Sundays and public holiday trading.
Mr Stout is the State Compliance Manager for Coles and was authorised to represent Coles, Target and
Coles and Bi-Lo:
o Coles and Bi-Lo operate in excess of 741 stores Australia-wide, with 633 of these stores trading on
Sundays and public holidays. This represents 85% of their stores.
o Coles CBD and Bi-Lo North Ward currently undertake 7 day trading. If the application is granted, Coles
stores at Annandale Central, Willows, Aitkenvale and Rising Sun will open for Sunday trading.
o The 42 Brisbane metropolitan area stores commenced Sunday trading in August 2002. In October 2002,
Sunday trading figures averaged 9.58% of weekly sales. This percentage has increased to 11.57% by
2004. The current average percentage of weekly sales on Sunday is now between 8.09% and 18.09%.
o Average percentages of weekly sales in interstate regional stores are between 8.29% and 16.48%.
o The Bi-Lo North Ward store currently demonstrates 18.03% of average weekly sales. The Coles CBD
store trades at 24.71% of weekly sales on Sundays, compared to only 13.84% in the Coles Cairns store.
o Sunday trading will generate approximately an additional 157 hours employment. This work will be
offered to employees on a voluntary basis.
o Target operates 2 stores in the Townsville and Thuringowa area which are in the Willows and Castletown
o Target asserts that its customers in the Townsville and Thuringowa area should be afforded the same level
of service that is presently available to its customers in south-east Queensland and Australia.
o Target stores in interstate regional areas (excluding Queensland) average 9.2% of weekly sales on
Sundays. There are approximately 64 interstate regional stores.
o Target stores in the Brisbane metropolitan area demonstrate an average of 11.2% of weekly sales on
o Target expects an average of 7,350 hours of additional employment per year per store will be generated if
the application is granted.
o Participation by employees in Sunday trading will be on a voluntary basis. Approximately 90% of their
Sunday workforce is comprised of casual employees.
o Officeworks is currently disadvantaged as the majority of its competitors currently trade over 7 days.
Ms Hofmann and her husband have owned and operated the Brumby's Bakery franchise in the Parklands Plaza
Shopping Centre since 2006. Their involvement in the bakery industry comprises some 14 years.
Mr and Mrs Hofmann have lived in the Townsville area for 37 years.
Their bakery currently trades 7 days per week and only closes on Christmas Day and Good Friday.
The average proportion of weekly sales for Sundays is 10%.
If the application is granted, the anchor tenant of the Parklands Plaza centre will be permitted to trade. This
would then attract new and existing customers to the centre on Sundays and in turn increase the bakery's trading
Mr Sandford is employed by Kmart Australia Ltd (Kmart) as the Regional Manager for the Queensland
operations. His employment with Kmart has been in a variety of positions during the past 44 years.
Kmart operates 171 stores Australia-wide, with 147 of these stores (or 86%) allowed to trade on Sundays.
In Queensland, Kmart operates 37 stores. Sunday trading is undertaken in 29 of these stores.
Kmart stores in the Brisbane metropolitan area average 10.2% of weekly sales on Sundays.
Interstate regional stores demonstrate an average of between 9.5% and 11.6% of weekly sales on Sundays.
Kmart operates one store in the Townsville area which is located at the Centro Shopping Centre at Aitkenvale.
This store is ranked number one for general merchandise sales in Queensland.
If the application is granted, an approximate 8,500 hours of additional employment per year will be generated in
the Townsville store.
Kmart believe they are presently disadvantaged because:
o their principal competitor is currently permitted to trade on Sundays and performs well in the general
merchandise category; and
o statistics from other Kmart stores show that Sunday is a strong trading day.
Mr Waters is the Regional Manager for Big W Discount Stores (Big W). He is responsible for 41 stores in
Queensland and northern New South Wales.
Mr Waters has been employed by Big W for approximately 36 years and as Regional Manager for 10 years.
Big W operates one store located in the Townsville area, namely Big W Stockland Nathan Plaza.
Big W operates 16 stores which trade on Sundays. These stores are located in the following non-tourist areas:
Underwood; Carindale; Stafford; Strathpine; Booval; Springfield; Capalaba; Browns Plains; Mt Ommaney;
Mt Gravatt; Logan; Beenleigh; Taigum; Morayfield; Nambour and Chermside.
Big W currently employs 9,020 employees in their Queensland stores. The Townsville store currently employs
approximately 220 employees.
The stores which trade 7 days in the Brisbane metropolitan area currently record between 11% and 20% of
weekly sales on Sundays.
Big W Nambour commenced Sunday trading in December 2006. Since then it has traded at 10% of average
Big W Whitsunday commenced Sunday trading in March 2006. Currently, Sunday trading in this store is 15%
of average weekly sales.
Big W estimate that approximately 75%-80% of their product range can be purchased at competing retailers on
Sundays and public holidays. Presently this sales opportunity is lost.
If the application is granted, approximately 215 additional employment hours would be generated in the
Townsville store. Similarly, the commencement of Sunday trading in Nambour created an additional
170 employment hours.
Working on Sundays and public holidays will be on a voluntary basis for employees.
Big W supports and contributes to local charities and community organisations and events. During the past
5 years the Townsville store has made a contribution of $71,816.
Primary statement of Mr Powell:
o Mr Powell is the Managing Director of Transpac Consulting Pty Ltd (Transpac).
o Transpac is a multi-disciplinary business and development firm as well as a market research company.
o Transpac was commissioned by the NRA to undertake research and studies into Sunday trading in the
Townsville and Thuringowa areas as follows:
research community attitudes towards Sunday trading;
complete an economic impact study in order to assess the potential impact of Sunday trading
on CBD retailers and Cotters' Market; and
prepare a synopsis of demographic and economic data of the Townsville and Thuringowa area.
o Results from research of the community attitudes is as follows:
people surveyed indicated their opinions to the introduction of Sunday trading as follows:
Strong support 43%
General support 22%
Neither oppose nor support 17%
Generally oppose 6%
Strongly oppose 12%
65% of people surveyed stated they would be likely to increase their Sunday shopping
activities and two-thirds would "shop from time to time" if the application was successful;
79.2% of people surveyed had shopped on Sundays within the past 12 months;
74.7% of people surveyed had shopped at least once per month on Sundays within the past
42% of people surveyed had shopped at least once per fortnight on Sundays within the past
17% of the Townsville and Thuringowa residents had travelled outside the region to shop in
the past 12 months;
23.6% of Townsville residents and 35.4% of Thuringowa residents had travelled outside the
area approximately 3 to 4 times in the last 12 months to shop;
73.7% generally agreed and 76.7% strongly agreed that Sunday trading would provide
assistance to families where both adults worked and would also provide more choice and
convenience for consumers;
50.9% of people surveyed believe there may be some impact on small retailers who presently
trade on Sundays;
60.2% of people surveyed do not support the idea that small retailers should be protected from
53.7% of people surveyed expressed either general or strong disagreement with the statement
that Sunday trading "would intrude upon opportunities for families to spend time together";
67.6% of people surveyed expressed either general or strong disagreement with the statement
that Sunday trading "would have an adverse impact on people's participation in religious
50.9% of people surveyed either generally or strongly agreed that Sunday trading "would have
an adverse impact on people's participation in sporting and community activities";
71% of people surveyed either generally or strongly disagreed with the statement that "shops
should remain closed on Sundays in keeping with tradition"; and
74% of people surveyed either generally or strongly agreed that "shops should be able to open
on Sundays if cafes, cinemas, clubs, hotels and other premises [sic] were all allowed to trade
o Results of the economic impact assessment are as follows:
approximately 11,000 people visited CBD retailers, Cotters' Market and the Flinders Mall on
Cotters' Market is the principal draw card on Sundays for the CBD area;
61% of Sunday shoppers had visited the CBD area by 10.30 a.m., and 87% had visited by
approximately 500,000 people visited the CBD retailers, Cotters' Market and the Flinders Mall
on Sundays in the past 12 months;
Sunday visitors spent an average of $6.03 at the Cotters' Market stalls and approximately
$11.62 with the CBD retailers;
total annual expenditure is estimated to be $19.43 million, with $6.64 million spent at Cotters'
Market and $11.62 million in the CBD retailers; and
the introduction of 7 day trading is expected to "generate a small positive net substitution effect
for Cotters' Market and CBD speciality retailers in the order of $37,000 per year (equivalent to
0.2%) reflecting limited net changes to visitation and expenditure patterns".
o A brief outline of the demographic and economic data of the Townsville and Thuringowa area is as
estimated population for Townsville area of 103,404, with a 2.3% growth from 2005
estimated population for Thuringowa area of 61,655, with a 3.8% growth from 2005 population
projected average annual growth between 2001 and 2026 in the Townsville and Thuringowa
area is 1.3%;
GRP for the Townsville area increased 12% from 2004/2005 to $10.2 billion.
Manufacturing/minerals processing has contributed 16.6%; government administration and
defence contributed 11.3% and construction was 8.5%;
total overnight visitors increased by 7% from September 2005 to September 2006, with visitors
staying an average 4.3 nights in the Townsville and Thuringowa area; and
tourism accommodation revenue for the 12 month period to June 2006 amounted to $59.3
million, with $54.2 million occurring in Townsville City.
Rebuttal statement of Mr Powell:
o Cotters' Market continues to be attractive due to the inner-city population growth.
o 37% of visitors to the Flinders Mall are residents of inner city suburbs and will continue to frequent the
CBD as their closest retail precinct.
o 24.3% of visitors to the Flinders Mall were non-residents. These visitors are likely to be accommodated
in the CBD and would access the CBD retail precincts and the unique retail nature of Cotters' Market.
o Cotters' Market will continue to benefit as visitors and residents will frequent the CBD and other
attractions such as Magnetic Island Ferry Terminal; Omnimax Theatre; Tropical Museum; Great Barrier
Reef Wonderland and The Strand, which attracts up to 40,000 visitors on Sundays alone.
The AWU did not seek to call any witness evidence, as outlined in their correspondence dated 26 March 2007.
Mr Westbury is the Operations Manager for the Walters IGA Group (IGA). He has worked for IGA for the past
IGA opposed the application in its entirety due to increased operation costs, lower profit and longer hours as
smaller retailers would need to increase their prices to account for smaller profit margins.
IGA believes there is no need for additional trading as they have 5 stores which trade on Sundays, in addition to
Woolworths CBD, Coles CBD, Coles North Ward and Foodworks stores being open.
IGA has invested heavily in refurbishing their supermarkets on the basis that trading hours would remain the
same in the regional area.
Trading patterns of IGA stores that trade 7 days show an increase of approximately 50% to 70% of normal
weekly trading figures occurring on Sundays.
IGA believe that if the application is granted IGA will experience a decrease in trading of between 12% to 15%.
IGA stores are located in small shopping centres which also include various sole traders. The sole traders
presently take advantage of IGA's customer patronage and this is at risk of decreasing if the application is
IGA supports and sponsors local sporting organisations and community-based festivals and events. IGA
believes a decrease in their sales will in turn reduce the amount of support they provide.
Paul Christopher Askern
Mr Askern is the Director Corporate Services of TCC.
TCC partially supports the application, but more specifically, TCC opposes the application to the extent that it
will allow trading prior to 11.00 a.m. on Sundays.
The application, if granted, is opposed by TCC on the following grounds as the application will:
o create a negative impact upon family life, religious activities and sporting interests;
o create a disadvantage to small businesses;
o pose a threat to Cotters' Market; and
o compromise the improvements made by TCC to enhance and preserve the revitalisation of the CBD,
which has been underpinned by the success of Cotters' Market.
TCC believes that if trading by non-exempt stores was limited to trading after 11.00 a.m., the negative impact on
small retailers would be minimised.
Cotter's Market is the only weekly event that attracts tourists and non-CBD residents into the CBD area.
Retailers in the CBD area are then exposed to this increased trade as the region's prime retail experience on
TCC believes that a balance of the diverse community interests could be achieved if the application was granted
only permitting trading from 11.00 a.m.
Ms Nicholson is the Cotters' Market Coordinator for TCC. She has held this position for approximately 14
Cotters' Market has been in operation for approximately 26 years and comprised between 110 and 180 stall
Cotters' Market operates from 8.30 a.m. until 1.00 p.m. every Sunday in the Flinders Mall.
Cotters' Market attracts approximately 350,000 customers per annum.
Cotters' Market has won more than one dozen Queensland and local tourism awards.
Cotters' Market has established a sense of vibrancy to the Flinders Mall and CBD retailers have indicated that
this is one of their best trading periods.
Previous introduction of alternative retail opportunities has reduced the visitation and expenditure to Cotters'
Permanent stall occupancy has fallen to 30% from 50% in 2001 due to the reduction in expenditure by visitors to
TCC has had to implement changes to the conditions of the Cotters' Market Guidelines to accommodate the
decrease in stall holder numbers.
Local customers are the primary support of Cotters' Market during the non-tourist season.
If Cotters' Market was to cease weekly trading due to non-attendance and non-financial feasibility, it would in
turn impact on CBD retailers due to the absence of market day attendees.
The success of Cotters' Market is based on adequate customer patronage providing a reasonable return for stall
Ms Nicholson believes that, if the application is successful, the weekly trading of Cotters' Market will become
non-viable for stall holders.
Before the making of final submissions, the Full Bench raised some issues for consideration by the parties. The first
related to the inspections conducted by the Full Bench.
The IGA stores inspected were not of a type normally associated with exempt stores for the purposes of the Trading
Act. The stores were on a par with many non-exempt stores visited during the inspections. These stores were a similar
size to the non-exempt stores and offered an extremely wide range of products commonly available in non-exempt
stores. At first glance, it would not be evident that they were exempt stores.
The Full Bench made enquiries to ensure that there was no challenge to be mounted by any of the parties as to whether
the IGA stores met the statutory requirement to be classified as exempt stores.
In response to those enquiries, the Full Bench was advised of the structure of the stores and also NRA said that they
would not challenge the legitimacy claimed. Based on the material before the Full Bench, we are satisfied that, because
of the legal structure of these stores, they fell within the statutory prescription of exempt stores as claimed.
The second issue raised by the Full Bench was a request to the parties to address, in their final submissions, the effect of
the removal of an order (the "Townsville Tourist Area") which had been in existence for some period of time. Within
that context, reference was also made to the existence of similar orders throughout Queensland in designated tourist
zones. The essence of the request related to the significance of the application at hand and possible ramifications
throughout the State were the application to be successful.
Final submissions from the parties occurred in Brisbane.
At the commencement of final submissions, NRA stated that it would be amenable to a different construction of the
Trading Hours Order to reflect the following: Rather than extend the tourist definition within the Trading Hours Order
to encapsulate the areas sought to be covered by the application, the tourist definition should remain as is and for those
areas outside of the defined tourist area, a new definition should be contained within the Trading Hours Order, for
example, "the Townsville and Thuringowa Area".
The Full Bench commented that the proposition may require the amendment of the application and/or the making of a
fresh application by the NRA, and, having made those comments, offered the parties time in which to consider this
A report from the parties, after those discussions, showed that TCC was amenable to having further discussions with the
NRA whilst the QRTSA was opposed to the proposition. Consequently, the NRA determined to proceed with the
application as it stood and to address any areas of concern within its final submissions.
Reference was made to the fact that the Townsville and Thuringowa areas have previously been considered by the
Commission in relation to Saturday afternoon trade. Therefore, the concept of joining the 2 areas, under 2 separate
Council administrations, was not novel to the Commission.
In the south-east Queensland region, trading hours had been extended for non-exempt stores and that extension
subsumed the pre-existing defined tourist regions. The NRA contended that with the introduction of 7 hour trade in the
south-east region of the State in 2002, the usual test which had applied to the granting of extended hours (e.g. "special
circumstances") had been significantly altered. In 2007, it was submitted, some 70% to 75% of Queenslanders had
access to 7 day trading whereas, within a national context, approximately 85% of Australians can utilise 7 day trading.
The NRA highlighted the degree of support the application had attracted. This support came from TCC (whilst
preserving its position of retaining the tourist precinct trading hours on a Sunday), the Thuringowa City Council, the
AWU, the Townsville Chamber of Commerce and the Thuringowa Chamber of Commerce. The opposition to the claim
came primarily from the IGA group.
Disproportional trade patterns had emerged as a consequence of a shift in retail outlets over the last 10 years or so. For
example, large homemaker stores could trade on a Sunday while non-exempt retail outlets could not.
Addressing the criteria under s. 26 of the Trading Act, NRA drew to the Full Bench's attention the size of the location
under question in this application. The areas of Townsville and Thuringowa represented the largest general growth
area, outside of south-east Queensland in the State. The catchment area being serviced by these regions extended from
the Whitsunday Island area in the north of the State to the Northern Territory border in the west.
It was stated that Townsville had the largest hospital outside of any Australian capital city; James Cook University; the
largest general cargo port in Queensland; major sporting teams; the major media centre for North Queensland; the major
growth area for tourist visitors, amongst many other attributes.
The Thuringowa area attracted a significant fly-in, fly-out workforce engaged in the mining industry in North
Queensland together with accommodating a substantial contingent of defence force personnel.
Reference was also made to increased employment which would occur by the granting of the application. There was an
acceptance that, were the application to be successful, work by employees on a Sunday would be voluntary.
Market research conducted for the purpose of the application showed that 43% of those surveyed strongly supported
Sunday trading; 22% generally supported the proposition; 17% were ambivalent and 12% strongly opposed the
Support for Sunday trading generally could also be evidenced by the number of consumers visiting hardware and
homemaker centres open for trade on a Sunday.
Evidence had been adduced from Ms Nicholson (representing Cotters' Market) showing that Cotters' Market stall
holders had previously been apprehensive about the extension of trade within the tourist precinct to the North Ward area
which occurred in 2004 [176 QGIG 615]. However, after the expiration of a reasonable period of time, it had been
shown that there was an only a slight decrease in attendance at the Cotters' Market on a Sunday.
NRA was of the view that attendance at the Cotters' Market consisted primarily of tourists and inner city residents and
that this view had been in part confirmed by Ms Nicholson's evidence when she had stated that Cotters' Market stall
holders often saw the same people shopping each Sunday.
The proposition posed by TCC was problematic for NRA in that an 11.00 a.m. start of trade on a Sunday for non-
exempt stores could preclude some shoppers from out of town being able to visit the shops and also effective rostering
of staff may be compromised.
The primary thrust of the AWU's submissions was that it had consulted its members working within the retail sector, the
subject of this application, and had found support for the application provided that the work on a Sunday be of a
voluntary nature. This aspect had been incorporated within the various certified agreements entered into by the AWU
QRTSA was fundamentally opposed to the removal of the tourist zone from the Trading Hours Order because of the
precedent it could set across the State and particularly so in smaller geographic areas.
QRTSA believed that the attempt to create in effect 2 trading zones within the Townsville and Thuringowa area was not
within contemplation in the application. The opposition of the QRTSA went to the application in toto. The Full Bench
commented that the position of the NRA had not altered, notwithstanding its earlier raised proposition of 2 discrete
zones, and what was before the Full Bench was the original application.
Much of QRTSA's emphasis in its final submission is encapsulated in the following comments:
"... there's a distinct advantage in maintaining the current balance in order to maintain the high levels of service to
the community that already exists and the pricing competition which is very important that a viable, small and
independent retail sector ensures the local consumers.". [Transcript, pg. 287.]
Criticism was levelled at the survey which was commissioned by the NRA to the effect that it was conducted just prior
to Christmas 2006 and its results could only be flawed.
Concern was expressed that, were the application to be successful, then the goal posts would be moved with regard to
trading hours. This was of major concern to the QRTSA because many small business owners had built their businesses
around existing trading hours orders. One of the attractions in retaining a small and vibrant business retail sector was
that "you get service".
No adverse inference should be drawn from the fact that small business owners did not present themselves to the
Commission to give evidence in opposition to the application as many are "stretched to meet the demands of running an
independent business". [Transcript, pg. 289.]
The viability of jobs for those engaged in small business was just as significant a consideration as was the creation of
more jobs within the retail sector were the application to be successful.
QRTSA drew to the Full Bench's attention correspondence which had been written by Ms Bowtell, the Centre Manager
for Stockland Townsville Shopping Centre on 28 May 2007 [Exhibit 31], who had stated to tenants at the centre that, as
a direct result "on the assumption that 7 day trading will be introduced on 1 July 2007" operating expenses will increase
across the board by 14.8% and as such the new contribution to operating expenses will also substantially rise.
QRTSA pointed out that this letter was directly at odds with evidence given by Ms Bowtell during the course of the
hearing. In that evidence, Ms Bowtell had said that she could "absolutely guarantee" that only those who chose to trade
on Sunday would be billed for the costs.
In response to that proposition, NRA responded saying that any increase attributable to Sunday trading would be very
small and the 14.8% referred to in Ms Bowtell's correspondence should be viewed over the 7 days of trade.
The position adopted by TCC has previously been cited in this decision.
TCC queried Mr Powell of Transpac as to whether the timing of the survey (i.e. 15-18 December 2006) distorted the
results in that shoppers were more attuned to shopping at this time of the year. The response to that concern was that
Transpac simply responded to its brief from the NRA and acted expeditiously. Mr Powell did not view the results as
being skewed because of the timing of the survey and stated:
"We're very confident that the report presents a very accurate portrayal of attitudes of the community at the time we
undertook the questionnaire.". [Transcript, pg. 183.]
TCC contended that the survey should have been undertaken during a more representative time of the year. Because of
the timing of the reports, the results were "simply biased and flawed".
Responding to the perceived allegation from the NRA that TCC was behaving "hypocritically" in that it condoned trade
in the tourist zone from 9.00 a.m. on a Sunday but not in the broader Townsville area until 11.00 a.m., TCC stated that:
"The council, throughout, has itself sought to balance a range of community interests ...". [Transcript, pg. 282.]
TCC was opposed to the proposition that the Commission should implement a "one size fits all" approach to trading
hours. That comment, within context, was based on a comparison of the population size in the south-east corner of
Queensland and that of the Townsville and Thuringowa area. The estimation of the difference was that the Townsville
and Thuringowa area was but one-tenth in size of that of the south-east corner. The Commission was required to
consider the differences in the regions under consideration.
In considering this application, the Commission must adhere to s. 26 of the Trading Act. That section states as follows:
"26 Matters relevant to s 21 order
In relation to making an order under section 21 the Industrial Commission must have regard to -
(a) the locality, or part thereof, in which the non-exempt shop or class of non-exempt shop is situated;
(b) the needs of the tourist industry or other industry in such locality or part;
(c) the needs of an expanding tourist industry;
(d) the needs of an expanding population;
(e) the public interest, consumers' interest, and business interest (whether small, medium or large);
(f) the alleviation of traffic congestion;
(g) the likely impact of the order on employment;
(h) the view of any local government in whose area the order is likely to have an impact;
(i) such other matters as the Industrial Commission considers relevant.".
Every trading hours matter before the Commission turns on its own facts. In some instances, different sub-sections of
s. 26 assume greater significance than other components of that section. For example, the question of traffic congestion
in some regions of the State may simply not be an issue for consideration.
What the Commission has been asked to do is to subsume into one area entitled "Townsville and Thuringowa Area"
what has previously been the designated "Townsville Tourist Area" and the remaining local Government areas of TCC
and Thuringowa City Council.
We do not propose to grant the application as it stands. Rather, we have determined to adopt the position of:
(1) retaining the tourist zone of "Townsville Tourist Area" and the hours which are in existence for that zone; and
(2) granting to the remaining local Government areas of Townsville and Thuringowa the trading hours of 11.00
a.m. to 6.00 p.m. By doing that we create a new trading zone entitled the "Townsville and Thuringowa Area"
incorporating the local authority areas for those 2 cities as defined.
We are conscious that in making this order, amendments will need to be made to the Trading Hours Order. For those
purposes, NRA will need to submit draft orders to the Commission and those draft orders will need to encompass a new
area entitled the "Townsville and Thuringowa Area". Directions regarding the submission of draft orders will be
addressed at the end of this decision.
Re (1): The retention of the Townsville Tourist Area
We have determined to retain the "Townsville Tourist Area" and its specific trading hours and reject the request to have
it subsumed within the Townsville and Thuringowa boundaries as sought in the application.
The history of the Townsville Tourist Area has its genesis in decisions from the Commission in 1995, 1997 and 2004.
The first of the decisions is Retailers' Association of Queensland Limited, Union of Employers v Queensland Retail
Traders and Shopkeepers Association (Industrial Organization of Employers) and Others (No. B531 of 1994)
[150 QGIG 69].
In 1995, the Townsville Tourist Area was not a defined area for the purposes of the Trading Hours Order. In effect, in
this application, the Commission was considering the locality of the Townsville CBD. An application had been made to
open non-exempt shops within this district between 8.00 a.m. and 5.00 p.m. on every Saturday (whether a public
holiday or not) and between 8.30 a.m. and 4.00 p.m. on every Sunday (whether a public holiday or not). At a later
rescheduled hearing of the matter, the application was amended to permit non-exempt shops to trade until 1.00 p.m. on
each Sunday. Ultimately, that application was accepted, but on a 2 year trial basis.
At that time, the Commission rejected the applicant's request to have the Townsville CBD declared a "tourist district".
The Full Bench stated:
"'Tourist hours' is a concept foreign to the legislative scheme. Nowhere in the Act is there any suggestion that the
Commission should enter upon the invidious task of finding that some areas of Queensland are tourist 'precincts'
whilst others are not.".
The Trading Hours Act 1990 (as in force on 21 February 1994) under the "Objects of the Act" at s. 1.3 made no
reference to the tourist industry. However, under s. 5.5 (Matters relevant to s. 5.1 order) the "needs of the tourist
industry or other industry in such locality or part" and "the needs of an expanding tourist industry" were matters which
the Commission "may" have regard to in making an order under s. 5.1 of that Act.
In the Trading (Allowable Hours) Act 1990 (as in force from 10 June 1994), the "Objects of the Act" at s. 3(c) included
the following "to facilitate trading in tourist areas" amongst other considerations. In the same legislation at s. 26
(Matters relevant to s. 21 order) the following continued to be stated:
"26. In relation to making an order under section 21 the Industrial Commission must have regard to -
(b) the needs of the tourist industry or other industry in such locality or part;
(c) the needs of an expanding tourist industry; ...".
While respectfully adopting the views of the Full Bench, cited above, in Matter No. B531 of 1994, what appears to have
occurred over time is that various precincts throughout the State (and these are reflected in the Trading Hours Order)
have claimed the nomenclature of "tourist areas". The trading hours granted in each "tourist area" are similar.
With regard to Cotters' Market specifically, the Full Bench, in matter No. B531 of 1994, stated that:
"A very large number of persons attend at the craft markets in the Mall every Sunday morning. It seems to us not to
be contestable that the crowd which frequents the mall of a Sunday morning exceeds the crowd in the mall at any
other time. Neither, or so it seems to us, is it contestable that the attraction is the craft market.".
In making its decision concerning the Cotters' Market, the Full Bench was prepared to grant the application on the basis
of a 2 year trial. In reaching that conclusion, the Full Bench stated:
"If no non-exempt store opens, no harm will be done. If non-exempt stores do open their doors the willingness of
patrons to enter their establishment on Sunday morning and the effect of the open doors upon the craft market will
soon become apparent.".
When the trial had completed in December 1997, the Full Bench stated in its second decision [157 QGIG 24] that:
"Notwithstanding this, the evidence was that of the 150 retail establishments within the CBD, 122 open on Sundays.
This includes all the non-exempt shops. This allays any fears we had that shops might not open on Sundays.".
At that time, there was further evidence to show "increased pedestrian traffic through the Mall area on a Sunday as
compared to a weekday. Reference was also made to the need to continue Sunday trading to support the Tourist
The third decision of relevance is Retailers' Association of Queensland Limited, Union of Employers (the RAQ) v
Queensland Retail Traders and Shopkeepers Association (Industrial Organization of Employers) (the QRTSA) (No.
B113 of 2004) [176 QGIG 615].
The application in that decision sought the deletion of the heading "Townsville Central Business District" and in lieu
thereof include the heading "Townsville Tourist Area".
The practical effect of the application was to include, under the heading of the "Townsville Tourist Area", a Bi-Lo store
operating in the suburb of North Ward, which is near to The Strand.
Much of the emphasis of the application went to establishing that the North Ward area under consideration (and
particularly The Strand) were significant tourist areas.
That application was granted and within the decision, the Full Bench stated:
"We accept the proposition that an alteration to the CBD boundaries could be detrimental to the plans of many
bodies to reinvigorate the CBD area of Townsville. However, we do not consider that the opening of the Bi-Lo in
North Ward on a Sunday could of itself draw any notable number of visitors away from that area on a Sunday. The
Cotters' Market, we have been advised, draws its own customers on a Sunday. If the 'one stop shop' concept were to
prevail, then the availability of shopping at Woolworths and eventually Coles in this area is still available to those
tourists and locals. If convenience of shopping is attractive to these consumers, as we have been told it is, then that
convenience element is still available.".
What appears to have occurred over the years is that tourist zones have emerged throughout the State with the added
emphasis in the "Objects of the Act" being given to the facilitation of trade occurring within tourist areas.
We draw attention to the evidence given by Ms Nicholson (Cotters' Market Coordinator for TCC). Cotters' Market
have been held in the Townsville CBD area for more than 26 years and attract approximately 350,000 customers
annually, although the Transpac survey cites figures of 500,000. Cotters' Market have also won tourism awards over
Ms Nicholson states that Cotters' Market has brought vibrancy back into the Townsville CBD area. The retail sector of
the CBD area of Townsville has been the focus of TCC's attention for many years and there have been numerous
attempts by TCC and other relevant bodies to reinvigorate this area.
Ms Nicholson believed that Cotters' Market need to retain at least 100 stall holders to be financially viable in the long
term. While there was a preference to permit Cotters' Market to retain their trading hours until 1.00 p.m. on a Sunday,
Ms Nicholson believed that if the alternative proposal of an 11.00 a.m. start for non-exempt shops within the
Townsville and Thuringowa area were to prevail, then Cotters' Market could at least retain the opportunity to provide a
service to its customers and play a role in the preservation of the vibrancy of the Townsville CBD area.
Mr Askern (Director of Corporate Services of TCC) in stating TCC's partial support of the application, advised that the
alternative proposal submitted by TCC of an 11.00 a.m. start for non-exempt stores in the Townsville and Thuringowa
areas was required on the basis that it would provide a balance of business interests and permit an "early-Sunday-
morning trading 'window' for those small business operators". As well, the proposition would also see the interests of
those who view the extended trading hours as being detrimental to family life and religious and sporting activities, as
Also, significantly, TCC sought to protect the viability of the award-winning Cotters' Market and did not want to thwart
the improvements which had occurred within the CBD under the TCC's revitalisation program. The influx of visitors
into the Cotters' Market on a Sunday does much to expose TCC's revitalisation efforts.
Two other factors of relevance were addressed by TCC. The first questioned the survey conducted by Transpac and the
second related to comparisons drawn between the south-east corner of Queensland and that of the region under
consideration in this decision.
As stated earlier, the survey was conducted on 15-18 December 2006. TCC claimed that the survey was flawed from
the beginning as the community's views with regard to shopping would be heightened at this time of the year. Any
result out of a survey conducted during this period could only produce the results obtained in the survey.
It has been a feature of many trading hours cases before the Commission that surveys are conducted by one or other of
the litigants to support its case. Surveys are significant to the extent that they represent an overview of the community's
views and concerns, however, surveys must be considered within context.
The survey conducted by Transpac is extensive.
There is little question that, when the public at large are asked if they desire extended trading hours, the answer is
affirmative. That, in effect, is an expected response. Responses often vary when other components are added to the
In this particular survey, a wide range of questions were asked of the public. Those questions did go to matters relating
to small retailers, family time, participation in sporting and community activities, were Sunday trading to be granted.
The outcomes of the survey are not surprising. It is clear that the majority of those surveyed supported the extension of
trading hours on a Sunday. However, within context, we believe that the timing of the survey, just before Christmas
when many residents are undertaking more than normal shopping within a condensed time frame, has the potential to
affect the results to some degree. Having taken all of this into consideration, in our view, the effect is not so significant
as to render the survey as "flawed". We maintain the view that the survey generally does reflect the broader views of
the community members who have been surveyed.
The survey also conducted an "economic impact assessment" of the Cotters' Market for the purpose of this application.
This assessment detailed the number of people visiting Cotters' Market on a Sunday - approximately 11,000. There was
little doubt that Cotters' Market was the principal draw card on Sundays for the CBD area. Interestingly, some 61% of
Sunday shoppers visited the area by 10.30 a.m., escalating to 87% by 11.30 a.m. On a Sunday, in the CBD area,
approximately 350,000 people, or Transpac's estimate of 500,000 people, attended in Flinders Mall where Cotters'
Market is situated.
The approximate total annual expenditure within this area was $19.43 million, with some $6.64 million being spent in
the Cotters' Market and another $11.62 million with CBD retailers.
In our view, these statistics show that the CBD area of Townsville (incorporating the Cotters' Market) plays an integral
role in TCC's plan to reinvigorate the CBD area of Townsville for the benefit of tourists and the public alike.
TCC also contended that a "one size fits all" prescription for trading hours is not applicable when one considers the
differences between the south-east region of Queensland and the area under consideration. The south-east region of
Queensland has approximately 2.7 million people and the area under consideration has approximately 270,000 people.
By sheer force of numbers (the area under consideration being less than one-tenth of the south-east region), residents in
the south-east corner would have greater requirements for extended trading hours.
TCC believed that its alternative proposal injected the right balance into accommodating the interests of competing
parties to this debate.
There are opposing arguments to consider as well.
Perhaps most significantly is the submission that Cotters' Market attracts a known clientele and it might be academic
whether other retailers throughout the region under consideration enjoyed the same trading hours.
QRTSA opposed the introduction of 2 trading zones within the Townsville and Thuringowa area. It was opposed to the
removal of the tourist trading zone within the Trading Hours Order, but this opposition was enveloped by its total
opposition to the application.
The question of the retention of the existing tourist Trading Hours Order rested primarily upon support for the Cotters'
Market directly by TCC and, within context, by the QRTSA.
The Full Bench accepts that the retention of the "Townsville Tourist Area" and trading hours represents a continuation
of an acknowledgement of TCC's ongoing commitment to the revitalisation of the CBD area of Townsville. This
market is unique and attracts tourists and locals alike and there is little doubt that the CBD area of Townsville is well
within an acknowledged and specific tourist belt in that city. These are factors which are relevant in the overall
consideration of trading hours applications. We have not perceived any intentional desire on the part of any party in
this hearing to adversely affect the Cotters' Market and the zone into which it currently falls. Rather, NRA sought to
have the area subsumed into the overall area identified in the application with the view that Cotters' Market would
continue unaffected by any changes to trading hours.
The Transpac survey, upon questioning consumers as to the likely impact on their shopping habits were the non-exempt
stores to open on a Sunday at the hours nominated in the application, showed that:
"... it would be reasonable to suggest that Sunday trading will have a neutral or minor positive or negative economic
impact on visitor numbers to and expenditure in the CBD/Mall on Sundays.". [Exhibit 24D.]
We have duly considered the survey results as they relate to the Cotters' Market, but in doing so find that we accept that
the submissions in support of the retention of this order are by far the more persuasive and, for the purposes of this
decision, have been accepted. Further considerations around this issue will be detailed in the second limb of our
decision. The area contained within the Trading Hours Order described as "Townsville Tourist Area" will be retained
and its current trading hours will be unaffected.
That is but one part of our consideration.
Re (2): Granting of trading hours to the remaining local Government areas of Townsville and Thuringowa
We have determined to grant the application as made by the NRA, but with a starting time of 11.00 a.m.
We believe that we have in part stated our reasons for the retention of the Townsville Tourist Area.
The following reiterates the position of the parties on the application:
the NRA application had sought to subsume the Townsville Tourist Area within the broader, general area to be
renamed the "Townsville and Thuringowa Area";
the Thuringowa City Council supported the application in toto, as did the AWU;
the QRTSA, in its opposition to the application, had sought the retention of the "Townsville Tourist Area" only
and had totally rejected the application; and
the TCC had sought the retention of the "Townsville Tourist Area" and the creation of a new trading zone
entitled the "Townsville and Thuringowa Area" with trading hours commencing at 11.00 a.m. on a Sunday.
We have previously made reference to the survey which had been produced by Transpac for the purpose of this
application. We have detailed the level of response to the questions posed in the survey as they relate to Sunday retail
trade. With the one caveat we have placed upon acceptance of the survey results, there is no doubt that Sunday retail
trade is well supported by those who completed the survey.
In consideration of this application, the Commission is required to consider s. 26 of the Trading Act as previously
detailed. We now address those requirements:
"The locality, or part thereof, in which the non-exempt shop or class of non-exempt shop is situated"
The area in consideration covers the municipalities of the cities of Townsville and Thuringowa.
Outside of the south-east Queensland corridor, this combined area represents the largest defined area in the State,
comprised of 3.715km2.
This area services the catchment areas of the coastal region between the Whitsunday Islands to the south of
Townsville, to the city of Cardwell in the north and, to the west of Townsville, the Northern Territory border.
[Townsville-Thuringowa Strategy Plan, 2000.]
From an economic perspective, during the 2005-2006 year, the GRP for the area was $11.6 billion which
represented 7.1% of the Queensland economy. This figure represented an increase of 12.4% from the previous
From a national perspective, this area is Australia's 10th most popular regional area.
The Townsville region is recognised as one of the largest centres for base metals processing worldwide.
Exported via Townsville is:
o Electrolytic copper;
o Refined nickel and cobalt;
o Electrolytic zinc; and
o Sulphuric acid produced as a by-product and used in high analysis fertilizer.
[Regional Overview, a Townsville Enterprise Publication, pg. 29]
The region is also the "base for one of the largest contingents of defence force personnel (Army and Air Force)
in Australia". [Regional Overview, a Townsville Enterprise Publication, pg. 21.]
The Townsville Port handles approximately 700 vessel calls each year and "over 400 people movements each
The Townsville Port is a major multi-cargo port.
The Townsville Port handles the following bulk products: sugar; copper; lead; zinc; fertilizer; timber; sand;
gravel and general purpose oils, amongst other products. [Regional Overview, a Townsville Enterprise
Publication, pg. 23.]
The Full Bench accepts that the above economic statistical data highlights the region under consideration as one of
significant growth. Naturally, such growth creates greater demand for a range of services. Included within those
services, is access to shopping at appropriate and available venues.
"The needs of the tourist industry or other industry in such locality or part"
In making this decision, we have duly considered the needs of the tourist industry as it relates to the retention of
the Townsville Tourist Area and of the entire area under consideration.
That, however, is not the only area to be considered when one looks at the broader picture of the tourist industry.
Under the next heading "the needs of an expanding tourist industry" we will address that factor in more detail.
One of the "other" industries which we have considered falls under the umbrella of the "defence base".
We have been advised that there will be an influx of approximately 1,500 defence force personnel (including
support staff) into the Townsville and Thuringowa area over the next few years. It is envisaged that 1,000 new
homes will be built to facilitate this move.
Coupled with this consideration, are other factors including an industry previously mentioned - i.e. the mining
The GRP for the Townsville region increased by 12% from 2004 to 2005. This increase represented 7.2% of
Queensland's Gross State Product.
Further, manufacturing has added 16.6% to the GRP. Other significant contributors to the GRP are defence
(11.3%) and construction (8.5%). [Townsville Enterprise Limited, 2005.]
This level of economic activity must be considered in gauging the overall picture of the type of location for which
this application is sought.
This background highlights an area of strong growth and infrastructure which, in turn, creates a need for enhanced
"The needs of an expanding tourist industry"
There has been a growth of approximately 7% of overnight visitors to the northern region for the year ended
September 2006. [Transpac Consulting Pty Ltd, "A Snapshot of Townsville and Thuringowa", April 2007, pg.
Visiting friends and relatives presented as the most significant reason for persons visiting the northern region
(31%) and this is followed by business/conference visitors at 27%.
Holiday and leisure visitors represent 27% of visitor nights.
International visitors to the northern region for the year ended September 2006 totalled 135,225 persons which
represented a 6% growth for that year. On average, international visitors stayed longer in the northern region
than they did in the Whitsunday and Tropical North Queensland regions.
Revenue from tourist accommodation in the region in the 12 months to June 2006 totalled $59.3 million which
represented 3.4% of overall Queensland's takings.
The above represents a general perspective of the strength of the tourist industry within this region. [Transpac
Consulting Pty Ltd, "A Snapshot of Townsville and Thuringowa", April 2007, pg. 8 and pg. 9.]
To cater for this number of visitors, currently the exempt and non-exempt retail stores in the Townsville Tourist
Area are available (and a large number of tourists frequent this area which incorporates The Strand) together
with the various exempt stores throughout the region and the IGA stores which enjoy exempt store status
pursuant to the Trading Act.
In our view, this growth is substantial when compared with that of surrounding regions, and especially with that
which is specifically identified as tourist regions (e.g. the Whitsunday Island group and Tropical North Queensland).
This heightened tourist activity creates benefits for all residents of any region. A considerable "spin-off" effect from
tourist expenditure is created in a range of areas: accommodation; availability of eating facilities; general transport
infrastructure and shopping, to name but a few examples.
There is now a greater emphasis placed upon facilitating the needs of the tourist industry [see s.3(c) "Objects of the
Act", the Trading Act].
This decision addresses that need as it relates to the region under consideration.
"The needs of an expanding population"
There is little question that the region under consideration is a rapidly growing area.
Townsville and Thuringowa are located within the Northern Statistical Division. This division consists of the
local government areas of Hinchinbrook, Thuringowa, Townsville, Charters Towers, Burdekin, Dalrymple and
Within this context, the cities of Townsville and Thuringowa combined consist of a total land area of
The resident population of the northern statistical division was 205,628 persons in June 2005 which represented
5.2% of the total Queensland population.
The region showed a population growth rate of 2.2% between June 2004 and June 2005 with a 2.0% growth rate
recorded for Queensland. [Transpac Consulting Pty Ltd, "A Snapshot of Townsville and Thuringowa", April
2007, pg. 6.]
Together with an increase in population at a rate higher than that of Queensland's average, an appropriate
infrastructure must exist to cater for the needs of this expanding population.
"The public interest, consumers' interest, and business interest (whether small, medium or large)"
A snapshot of consumers' interests is primarily dealt with in the survey which had been conducted. All
indicators within that survey suggest that the interests of consumers will be met with the introduction of Sunday
trade in the region under consideration. Those statistics, and the caveats attached to the Commission's reasoning,
largely speak for themselves.
However, matters concerning "public interest" and assorted "business interests" require further consideration.
"Public interest" considerations cover a broad field. TCC believe that its submissions and required outcome go
largely to accommodating public interest concerns. TCC has sought to bring about an outcome which creates a
balance between various competing interests.
Within its submissions, TCC sought to preserve the Townsville Tourist Area (and primarily the Cotters' Market)
because it viewed Cotters' Market as providing a venue for visitors and locals alike in which to shop, and also
because it preserved the vitality of the CBD area of Townsville.
The public interest is also served in providing appropriate trading facilities for consumers across the region.
As it currently stands, save for the IGA stores (which have previously been described as comparable to the non-
exempt stores viewed during the inspections) and exempt stores, consumers, over the extended geographical
area comprising the Townsville and Thuringowa region, had limited access to the type of shopping they so
readily requested in the survey conducted by Transpac.
It is not unusual in trading hours matters to have witnesses from exempt stores speak in favour of extended
trading hours (those stores often being situated in large shopping centres where the anchor tenant (a non-exempt
store) is unable to trade on a Sunday), and in this case there was support from exempt stores for extended
trading. [See evidence of Mr K. Williams (Exhibit 11) and Ms T. Hofmann (Exhibit 20).]
Primarily, the opposition to the application came from the IGA Walters Group of exempt traders.
There has been no challenge to the status of the IGA stores inspected during this hearing (i.e. that they are
actually exempt stores pursuant to the Trading Act) and from which significant evidence was given to the
The IGA stores in question are a far call from the typical exempt stores usually inspected by the Commission in
cases such as this. These stores carried similar food lines as many of the non-exempt stores and there is little
doubt that, save for a corporate structure precluding them from the confines of the Trading Act, there was next to
no difference between these stores and the non-exempt stores seeking a positive outcome in this case.
These IGA stores have responded to a shopping need within the area under consideration, specifically on
Sundays and one can understand their desire to retain that advantage.
There was an attempt by the QRTSA to call evidence from a small business owner, however, that owner was
unable to attend the hearing and, as his witness statement was challenged by other parties, it was not admitted
That situation does not obviate the need for the Full Bench to consider the interests of small to medium size
traders and we have done so.
The Bench appreciates that often retailers establish businesses on the basis that there may be an advantage
apparent to them vis a vis the Trading Act. Obviously, in the case of Townsville, it is not surprising that IGA
have sought to cater for an apparent need by creating large retail outlets outside of the Townsville Tourist Area.
While we appreciate that there is a need for certainty with regard to business ventures and relevant legislation,
the Trading Act specifically permits the extension of trading hours in appropriate circumstances.
We are of the view that this decision caters for the needs of all categories of business interests.
Small business (and we do not place the IGA stores in this category) will retain their advantage of not having to
compete with non-exempt stores before 11.00 a.m. on a Sunday as will IGA stores; the Cotters' Market and
associated exempt and non-exempt stores within the Townsville Tourist Area will retain a trading pattern which has
now existed satisfactorily for some time and non-exempt stores will be able to trade from 11.00 a.m. on a Sunday
through to normal closing time of 6.00 p.m. in the remaining area identified in this application.
"The alleviation of traffic congestion"
This was not a factor in contention in this application.
"The likely impact of the order on employment"
As with any expansion of trading hours there are always likely effects on employment within a region.
In this case, the non-exempt stores are likely to employ more people and some smaller retailers may not require
the same number of employees after 11.00 a.m. on a Sunday although the Commission did not receive any
evidence from small retailers on this point.
This consideration is always one of a question of balance.
From the limited material put before the Commission, an increase in employment opportunities would more
likely outweigh a loss of employment for employees.
Within this consideration, the Full Bench is aware that within the non-exempt sector, only volunteer employees
would work on a Sunday.
"The view of any local government in whose area the order is likely to have an impact"
In this case, TCC has achieved the outcome it sought - i.e. the Townsville Tourist Area to be maintained and
expanded hours for the Townsville and Thuringowa areas after 11.00 a.m. on a Sunday.
The Thuringowa City Council supported the application in toto. Thuringowa City Council was not represented
in the hearing and the Full Bench is unaware of any other considerations Thuringowa City Council may have had
towards the application.
The Full Bench has duly taken into consideration the views of both local Government Councils.
"Such other matters as the Industrial Commission considers relevant"
The Full Bench has no other matters to consider under this heading.
For these reasons, the Commission grants the application in part (see s. 331 of the Industrial Relations Act 1999). This
decision will be operative from 17 September 2007.
Submission of draft order
The NRA is required to formulate the appropriate draft order to reflect this decision and include in the draft order the
usual reference to public holidays. This draft order is to be provided to all parties represented in this hearing within
22 days of the release of this decision. After the expiration of that period, the NRA is to file in the Industrial Registry a
copy of the draft order by 24 August 2007. The Trading Hours Order will issue from the Industrial Registry in due
D.A. SWAN, Deputy President. Appearances:
Mr G. Black of the National Retail Association Limited, Union of
K.L. EDWARDS, Commissioner. Employers.
Mr S. Driscoll of the Queensland Retail Traders and Shopkeepers
J.M. THOMPSON, Commissioner. Association (Industrial Organization of Employers).
Ms S. Schinnerl of The Australian Workers' Union of Employees,
Hearing Details: Queensland.
2007 16, 27 March Mr T. Bligh of Townsville City Council, and initially, Mr M. Quirk of
16, 17 May King and Company.
Released: 23 July 2007
Government Printer, Queensland
The State of Queensland 2007.