Everyone in Mount Isa knows the Mount Isa Show is special, now a Queensland court has agreed.
In a matter heard before the Queensland Industrial Court on June 4, just before this year's Show, Industrial Commissioner Minna Knight had to make the ruling the Show was a "special event".
The case was brought by the Employers Union, the National Retail Association who sought that the Show be declared a "special event" within the meaning of the Trading (Allowable Hours) Act 1990 (Qld).
The effect of such a declaration is that non-exempt shops operating in the area would be treated as exempt shops for the period for which the declaration applies.
In other words, it would allow Coles and Woolies to open on Show Day and the declaration was opposed by the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association (Queensland Branch) Union of Employees (SDA).
According to the law, an exempt shop is used predominantly for selling goods by retail,an independent retail shop or a shop operating in a stated area for an event "that is a unique or infrequent event of local, state or national significance".
In deciding whether to declare an event to be a special event, the industrial commission had to consider the cultural, religious or sporting significance of the event, and the significance of the event to the economy and the tourism industry; and may consider a submission made by a local government area, though in this case Mount Isa City Council did not make a submission.
The NRA told the court the 2021 Mount Isa Show was a highly significant event for the local community, economy and tourism and its purpose was to take everything great about the Mount Isa region and celebrate it with the community.
The SDA argued the Mount Isa Show did not warrant a change in shopping patterns across the two days, particularly in circumstances where the event is specifically marketed with a family focus.
Industrial Commissioner Knight was not convinced the Show was special culturally or religiously but it was special in a sporting sense though he incorrectly mentioned the Professional Bull Ride which although has been part of previous shows did not take place in the 2021 Show.
She correctly mentioned the Show hosted the Rooftop Express Show "which encompasses horse play and cattle mustering."
She granted the exemption not just for the Show Day holiday and the Saturday but also to the Sunday after the Show.
"Given the remoteness of Mount Isa and the large distances out of town visitors, competitors and exhibitors will no doubt be required to travel in order to attend the Show, I am satisfied on this occasion, there is some merit to the NRA's submission... such that both visitors and locals more broadly can take advantage of extended trading hours over what will no doubt be a particularly busy period," she said.
While the action was specifically for 2021, it does set a precedent for the big shops to open on Show weekend in 2022,
Editor of the North West Star Mount Isa since January 2016. Prior to that, an editor at several regional southern Queensland newspapers. Passionate about telling local stories. Comes with a strange accent to due an Irish accident of birth.
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