‘Bad Fri­day’ re­tail rage

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

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.

Pic­ture: AN­GELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

UN­HAPPY RE­TAIL­ERS: David Im­graben, Al­lan Evans with Michael and Bar­bara Dip­pe­naar

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