The Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) has agreed to several major changes to retail trading hours in the last couple of weeks including:

  • from 1 December, major retailers in South-East Queensland (SEQ) will now be allowed to trade 7am to 9pm Monday to Saturday;
  • retailers in some parts of SEQ will be allowed to trade until midnight in the 5 days leading up to Christmas Eve; and
  • retailers in regional Queensland will be allowed to trade from 8am to 5pm on Boxing Day.

1. Extended early morning trade and Saturday trade for major retailers

This change is likely to have the biggest impact. It allows for so called “non-exempt shops”, such as supermarkets and department stores, to trade for an extra 4 hours on a Saturday evening and open an hour earlier each morning.

The new trading times for non-exempt shops in SEQ (excluding areas which already enjoy a greater relaxation of trading hours restrictions such as New Farm, Inner City Brisbane, Gold Coast Coastal Tourist Area and Hamilton North Shore) are:

Days Opening Times Closing Times
Monday - Saturday 7am 9pm

Sunday & Public Holidays
(excluding Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Anzac Day, Labour Day and Christmas Day)

9am 6pm

2. Trading until midnight for 5 days leading up to Christmas Eve

Previously, SEQ shopping centres have only been allowed to trade until midnight on 23 December. The QIRC ruling allows selected major shopping centres in SEQ to now trade until midnight for the 5 nights leading up to Christmas Eve.

3. Regional Queensland major retailers allowed to trade on Boxing Day

With Christmas Day falling on a Sunday in 2016, major retailers in regional areas of Qld had faced the prospect of a 3 day closure because Tuesday, 27 December is a public holiday. This would have meant no Boxing Day sales for major retailers in regional Qld. The QIRC order overcomes this anomaly by permitting non-exempt shops in regional Queensland to trade between 8am and 5pm on Tuesday 27 December 2016.

Further Review

The Palaszczuk Government has established a reference group to carry out an independent review of retail trading hours in Qld. This is the first major review since 1994. An Issues Paper was released on 19 October inviting the public to make submissions regarding options for reform. The reference group is to provide a report to the Government in December 2016 so it has asked for submissions to be made by 14 November 2016.

Moving Forward

We recommend that owners and managers:

  1. review their leases to major tenants to determine whether there is any scope for recovering outgoings if major tenants elect to open for longer hours; and then
  2. liaise with their major tenants regarding any proposed trading time changes to ensure that appropriate arrangement are made to accommodate longer trading hours and customers and other retailers are kept informed.

For those wishing to make a submission please ensure you lodge it by the due date of 14 November 2016.