Cast IGA Bargara store manager John Smith.
Cast IGA Bargara store manager John Smith. Mike Knott

Bargara 7-day trading rejected

SMALL businesses are celebrating a “common sense” victory after it was announced national retail chains will not be allowed to trade on Sundays in the Bargara area.

The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) published its decision to reject the National Retailers Association’s application late on Monday afternoon — after more than two years of proceedings.

Casts Supa IGA Bargara owner Kevin Cast said “justice had finally prevailed”.

“The chain supermarket duopoly has not succeeded, even with this inept council not opposing the application,” he said.

“It’s a win for common sense. The reality is if they got the decision, how long before they are saying we need it in Bundaberg as well?”

The Bargara grocery shop’s busiest day is Sunday, meaning the extra competition could force it out of business.

“If they were able to trade here that would jeopardise about $100,000 a year which goes back to the customers and into the community,” Mr Cast said.

The IGA is not the only business pleased by the decision.

Bargara Bakery and Coffee Shop owner Yvonne Kuhn said having large businesses like Woolworths able to open on Sunday would severely damage her busiest day of trade.

“I would probably have to let a couple of girls go,” she said.

In an online poll on Member for Burnett Rob Messenger’s website, 46% of 185 respondents said they were in favour of Sunday trading for national chains, while 51% said they opposed it.

Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism chair and Coral Coast Chamber of Commerce president Greg Barnes slammed the verdict as “a disappointing and backwards step for Bargara”.

“People who come to the town as tourists expect at least the same facilities and opening hours as the places they have come from,” he said.

Mr Barnes said as a coastal resident he would like the choice of where to shop on a Sunday.

In its decision, the QIRC stated that not enough evidence had been put forward to justify a change in trading hours.

But National Retailers Association director of corporate affairs Jed Moore said the case for seven-day trading was strong and an appeal may be considered.

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