The Executive Director of the Australian Retailers Association, Russell Zimmerman, has expressed his disappointment that the Queensland government has legislated its decision to make Christmas Eve a partial public holiday in Queensland, saying it is “simply a pre-election vote grab.”
With the ARA disappointed at the short-sighted decision, Mr Zimmerman lamented the lack of serious concern shown by the government for the damage it would do to both small and large retailers and their employees.
“We don’t believe the Committee had any genuine interest in the views of industry, it was a ham-fisted approach to ‘consultation’ which lacked any regard for many mum-and-dad businesses affected,” Mr Zimmerman said.
Mr Zimmerman said the state government’s own modelling showed a $137m increase in wage costs for affected businesses, one that many would not absorb and would end up closing their doors by 6pm or would work after that time themselves.
“It’s disappointing that the Queensland government has rushed into this and glossed over their own modelling, while conducting a box-ticking exercise to say they’ve consulted with everyone affected,” he said.
Mr Zimmerman questioned the rhetoric that workers would be better off, lamenting that many employees depending on extra holiday shifts would lose the chance to work due to their employers being forced to shut their doors or work themselves.
“One thing we can expect to see is the last-minute Christmas Eve rush being pulled forward to 23 December, as shoppers scramble to get organised when they realise their favourite stores might be shut on Christmas Eve when they need them, especially if Christmas Eve falls on a night usually subject to late-night trading,” Mr Zimmerman continued.
“Instead of trying to win a short-term popularity contest, we urge all governments to look at better ways to boost jobs and productivity, and work to reduce the tangled web of red tape, taxes, and business costs which stifle retailers,” Mr Zimmerman concluded.