Good Fri­day blues

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - An­gelique Pat­ter­son

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.

Pic­ture: AN­GELIQUE PAT­TER­SON

CLOSED:

owner Julie Bell will be forced to close Tsh­inta’s doors

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