‘Bad Friday’ retail rage
PORT Douglas retail outlets will be closing their doors next week on Good Friday for fear of persecution after being put on notice last year.
On Good Friday last year around 50 retail businesses were given official warnings from the Department of Fair Trade for trading and threatened with fines up to $22,000 if they re-offended.
The Department of Justice and AttorneyGeneral’s Office of Fair and Safe Work Queensland said last year’s inspection was in response to complaints about possible breaches of trading hours restrictions.
‘‘The Department of Justice and AttorneyGeneral has not received any complaints or representations in relation to any intention to breach Good Friday trading hours restrictions in the Port Douglas area this Easter, but will act should it receive such information,’’ media officer Tracey Nelson said.
The maximum penalty for an offence is up to $22,000 for a company and $4400 for an individual.
While there are areas in Queensland applying for exemption to the legislation, the Department of Justice and Attorney General were not aware of any trading hours application from the Douglas region.
Douglas Chamber of Commerce president Phoebe Kitto said they had approached the State Government but there is no room for movement because of red tape.
‘‘One of the promises of the Government was to remove red tape on businesses and this is an issue we are highlighting in a meeting next month with the ministers,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s on our radar to get it addressed and we are also meeting with Gavin King to discuss the impact of penalty rates in this region.’’
Owner of the two Transit clothing stores in Port Douglas, Alan Dale, said being forced to close down ‘‘sucks’’.
‘‘It’s a resort town, people come here and one thing they like to go is shop and we have to capitalise when people come here,’’ he said.
‘‘I wouldn’t say no to a day off but I could lose between the two shops $10,000 and still have to pay staff who are full-time.’’
Michael and Barbara Dippenaar, owners of boutique store Barbarella and Swan, said closing down half of Port Douglas was not a good image for a town that relies on tour- ists.
‘‘When the inspector came our booths were full and the shop was busy and all of our clients said to us it was absolutely ridiculous for the department to expect us not to be trading,’’ Barbara said.
Blue Dog and Tript surf stores owner David Imgraben described it as ‘‘a despicable act’’.
‘‘This is the first day to make a profit since Australia Day and for two months I have been running at a loss to keep the doors open and they close us on the first day of the season - it’s a little shortsighted,’’ he said.
UNHAPPY RETAILERS: David Imgraben, Allan Evans with Michael and Barbara Dippenaar