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The Queensland Productivity Commission should examine the economic benefit of daylight saving

With the risk of alienating die-hard opponents of daylight saving I believe the State Government should commission the Queensland Productivity Commission to examine the economic cost of the Sunshine State not having this initiative.

This coming Sunday - New South Wales, Victoria, the ACT, South Australia and Tasmania will all shift their clocks forward with the commencement of daylight saving summer hours.  This in no uncertain terms creates an economic cost of inconsistency of hours across the eastern States for Queensland.

It is ludicrous that both sides of State politics are unwilling to examine the merits of Queensland adopting daylight saving.  This is a classic example of whereby both parties are putting politics before the sensible debate of an initiative that could realistically create significant benefit for our economy and many jobs . Let me explain ………..

The issue of daylight saving has typically been a difficult one for the State’s business community just like for all Queenslanders. Historically businesses in SEQ are more inclined to support its adoption and businesses in regional Queensland are more inclined to oppose it.  Previous research I have overseen indicates that Statewide, business support sits at about 62% with this support increasing to 82% in SEQ.

Queensland businesses view this issue not just as a lifestyle one but as an economic one with significant costs existing.  These take the form of:

  • For tourism businesses the visitor experience is diminished and visitor spend is less in the early daylight hours of each day than in evening daylight hours;
  • Queensland businesses have to open earlier to be unison with the southern states incurring additional wage and other operational expenses;
  • Business travellers have to travel the evening before for meetings in the southern states incurring accommodation and meal expenses;
  • Gold Coast business experience special cross-boarder difficulties with the Tweed.

Whilst the majority of Queensland businesses support the introduction of daylight saving the introduction of two time zones within Queensland would be equally problematic and would create significant difficulties for businesses statewide. The adoption of two time zones would simply shift the cost impacts of not having daylight saving from SEQ to Regional Queensland but at the same time are thought to significantly exacerbate the financial impact of this issue.  However, this theory that I have long articulated, needs to be properly tested.

I would like to see the State Government commission detailed economic research on this issue.  This study would establish the economic cost of Queensland not aligning with eastern Australia because of the absence of daylight saving. The Queensland Productivity Commission should examine the cost or benefit of Queensland adopting daylight saving and the cost or benefit of just SEQ.  Only with informed research can we decide whether the cost is too great for Queensland not to have daylight saving.

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