Good Friday blues
DOZENS of Port Douglas retailers will close their doors for Good Friday while their neighbouring shops will be able to make the most of the first busy day for months.
Souvenir shops, soap shops, flower shops, funeral directors, fish shops, bread shops, book shops, bait and tackle shops, antiques and hairdressers are just some of the businesses allowed to trade on Good Friday under rules enforced by the State Government.
Retail businesses which are predominantly clothing are not allowed to open and could face up to $22,000 in fines if they trade on Good Friday.
Swimwear business Tshinta’s owner Julie Bell is furious and is labelling the legislation discriminatory, especially for businesses operating in tourist destinations such as Port Douglas.
‘‘Last year we got slammed for illegal trading when ‘the Gestapo’ handed out these warning notices and they will be here again,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s discrimination against clothing retailers because you can be open if you are a toy shop, a hairdresser, an antiques shop or even a soap shop and the souvenir shop is classic.
‘‘Why can’t it be exempt selling swimwear or clothing, it just doesn’t make sense, everything can open, a bread shop, book shop, bait and tackle - everything but a clothing store.’’
Ms Bell said if she had not received a warning last year she would open her doors on Friday.
‘‘I’ve tried and looked at at every possible way to get around this, but the only way is to change legislation - it’s insane,’’ she said.
‘‘It’s a really bad image for the town having some shops open and some not.’’
Douglas Chamber of Commerce president Phoebe Kitto said clothing retailers contemplating opening their doors had to weigh up the risk.
‘‘We need to lobby hard to get changes in legislation to be more consistent with other states, however, as part of the Chamber of Commerce I have to promote people to be law-
State member for Cook David Kempton said although he does not hold a personal view on trading hours, he will seek feedback from shop owners to gauge community feeling about the demand for trading on Good Friday.
‘‘If the community of Port Douglas and the traders want the shops to open on Good Friday then I will lobby on their behalf,’’ he said.
owner Julie Bell will be forced to close Tshinta’s doors