Re­tail fury at Govt swoop

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - AN­GELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

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

Stage for the fu­ture: Diane Ci­lento at the Kar­nak Theatre

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