The Mount Isa hearing into Queensland seven day trading heard a range of divergent views on whether there should be open slather for the likes of Coles and Woolies to trade on Sundays.
Officially called the Inquiry into the operation of the Trading (Allowable Hours) Act 1990, the parliamentary inquiry was called in September to reforms to the Act enacted in 2017.
Those 2017 changes left Mount Isa as one of 23 regional towns that cannot trade on Sunday for five years, a period that expires in August 2022.
On Sunday locals had the chance to give their views to the inquiry, chaired by Labor MP Kim Richards and the forum attracted 25 members of the public and heard from eight speakers, both for and against the changes.
Local Traeger MP Robbie Katter kicked off discussion and he was firmly in the camp against changing trading laws.
Mr Katter said many small businesses relied on their Sunday trading margins to survive and the money they made stayed local.
He admitted there may be some tourism benefits by opening up but seven day trading would kill some local businesses detracting from the city's liveability.
Mr Katter said the likes of Coles and Woolies were already eating into Sunday trading with five Sunday trading days permissable a year for the likes of the rodeo and show weekends.
Mr Katter was followed by Mount Isa City Council represented by Cr George Fortune and CEO David Keenan with Council in favour of changes to the law.
Cr Fortune said they worked with Commerce North West to survey local residents and the overwhelming feedback was for opening up Sunday trading as part of a part to revitalise the city centre along with the CBD masterplan.
Commerce North West president Emma Harman said they designed a survey for its members and with the help of Council it received 1400 responses with four in five responses in favour of changes.
Ms Harman said she wasn't surprised by the level of support but she was surprised by the feedback from out-of-towners who said Sunday trading would encourage more visits to town with people combining their shopping business on Saturdays and Sundays with a stay at a motel and a meal and maybe a visit to the cinema.
She acknowledged some businesses, including some Commerce members might be adversely affected but she needed to speak on behalf of the entire group.
Mount Isa Tourism Association president Nadia Cowperthwaite said her organisation was also in favour of change.
She said travellers were confused by changes across Queensland and Mount Isa had the only large supermarkets between Charters Towers and Katherine and Alice Springs and larger groups were having to change their itineraries to fit in with Isa opening hours.
She said tourism operators encouraged visitors to shop at smaller stores but they needed the convenience of availability of the larger operators too especially for the types of good often unavailable at the smaller stories.
The inquiry hearing also heard from two business owners who would be negatively affected, Brumby's franchisee Michelle Russell and Colonial supermarket owner Bob Burow.
Ms Russell said she made 20pc of her profits from Sunday trading and her trade had a knock-on positive effect to other West St businesses.
Losing exclusive Sunday trading could lead to the loss of shifts for her workers and Good Shepherd parish would lose out on the end-of-day leftovers she normally provides on Sunday for no charge.
She listed off the local sporting clubs and groups her business supported, a point also made by Mr Burow.
Mr Burow said Sunday trading was "a bit of the pie for them" and without it they would not be profitable.
He said his store was an unbranded IGA store and IGA set the pricing but they prided themselves on knowing their customers.
He also queried the survey saying he had not heard of it in advance and neither had his customers.
Other speakers were Shopping Centre Australasia Property Group (whose client bought Mount Isa Village recently) in favour of change and member of the public David Hydon who noted the impact of online shopping on bricks and mortar and wanted to see less regulation.
The Inquiry committee will be asked to consider the impacts of the amendments made by to the Act including obtaining stakeholder feedback, and the ongoing role of the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission, which acts as independent tribunal.
The Committee will report its findings to the Queensland Parliament by January 31, 2022.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Make sure you are signed up for our breaking and regular headlines newsletters
Follow us on Twitter
Follow us on Instagram
Follow us on Google News