Retail fury at Govt swoop
ist town status,” he said.
“These two inspectors were on holidays when they were called in to respond to a complaint and by law they were technically correct.
“They came in to talk with every business but ran out of time to talk to all of the businesses and decided not to issue fines, however, they did issue warnings.
“I spoke with them and they said to ’please advise the town it is now on notice, if we come back on any of those days you are operating you will be fined’.”
The days when venues are not allowed to trade - unless they are food outlets, hotels (only while serving food) and souvenir shops - are Good Friday, until 1pm on Anzac Day, Labour Day and Christmas Day.
Any businesses caught breach- ing the Trading Act 1990 can pay a penalty of $4000 for retails with under 20 staff and $20,000 for businesses with over 20 staff.
Mr Calvert’s souvenir shops were exempt but said retail outlets were outraged that they were supposed to close on one of the busiest weekends so far this year.
“It’s a tourist town, tourists are interested in buying stuff from Port Douglas whether it’s a souvenir or clothing - it’s an archaic law,” he said.
David Bell, on holiday from Victoria said he was appalled by the behaviour of the Fair Work inspectors.
“I was down the main street shopping with my wife on Good Friday in a clothing store and the shop assistant was distraught and said they weren’t supposed to be open and were threatened with fines,” he said.
“These two inspectors I would call Gestapo, they walked right up to counters and asked to see the manager saying they’re here to talk about trading hours and you’re not supposed to be open today.
“One of the store assistants was a 17-year-old girl who was shaking and the inspectors had the discussions in the shop, with shoppers all through the place.
“People were bewildered, tourists were standing around talking about it, I rang Tourism Queensland and they were gobsmacked.
“I’ve been to Port Douglas 20-odd times and imagine walking down Port Douglas with two-thirds of shops closed, it would be a joke.”
Mr Bell tried calling the inspectors to have a chat as to why Port Douglas was being hassled and bumped into the inspectors on Macrossan St and asked to have a chat but they refused.
The Port Douglas Chamber of Commerce will appeal to Fair Work Australia to try and solve this issue, but Doug Calvert said there is not much anyone can do.
“How effective that is going to be, I don’t know, maybe with the government change we’ll have better answers,” he said.
“It becomes a long process to change the whole thing and all we can do is our best, lobby and tell our concerns to Fair Work.”
Fair Work Australia failed to reply to interview requests from the Gazette.
For more information on trading hours visit www.justice.gov.au
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