Questions and answers

Why are trading hours changing?

  • Queensland’s trading hours’ arrangements were very complex and confusing for retailers and consumers alike.
  • Different trading hours had been applied in different areas of the state and varied according to the size of the store, the products being sold and the day of the week the shop traded on.
  • The Government has now simplified the Trading (Allowable Hours) Act 1990 reducing complexity to allow retailers to set their hours to best service their customers’ needs.
  • Amendments to the Trading (Allowable Hours) Act 1990 were passed by Parliament on 22 August 2017 and received assent and commenced on 31 August 2017.

How are the new arrangements simpler?

  • The previous trading hours provisions, contained in over 40 pages of orders have been replaced by core trading hours for non-exempt (large) shops (in SEQ and outside SEQ), tourism areas, hardware shops and shops selling motor vehicles and caravans. The previous three tier system – exempt, non-exempt and independent retailers – is reduced to two by moving independent retail under the exempt class.
  • This provides a significant reduction in regulatory burden for business.
  • It provides a five year period of certainty with no applications to the QIRC for extended trading hours.

What other benefits are there?

  • The reform measures contained in these amendments to the Act represents significant reform with substantial economic and employment benefits to Queensland. The implementation of the reform measures is expected to support up to an additional 1000 full-time equivalent jobs.
  • The new and extended opening hours will give better choice to consumers, promote competition and reduce prices.

What are exempt stores?

  • Exempt shops are those shops that don’t have trading hours restrictions e.g. chemists, take-away food shops, service stations, marine shops, sporting goods and pet stores.

What will change for exempt stores?

  • The following have been added into the exempt/unrestricted trading hours category:
    • butchers
    • shops at trade shows and exhibitions
    • shops in international airports, cruise terminals and tourist resorts on offshore islands
    • shops at special events such as the Commonwealth Games.
  • All shops in the Mossman and Port Douglas Tourist area will be trialled as exempt from trading hours for five years.

Why have butchers been added to the list of exempt shops?

  • Trading hours’ restrictions have been removed from all butcher shops so they are treated the same as other shops selling fresh foods which have unrestricted trading, such as fishmongers and deli shops.

What are independent retail shops?

  • Until these changes, independent retail shops were shops that had not more than 20 staff in any one shop at any one time, or not more than 60 staff where there is more than one shop in the group.
  • These shops generally include the independent food and grocery stores – IGA and Foodworks – as well as stores selling non-food products like clothes or shoes.
  • Independent food and grocery stores in this category have no trading hour restrictions.
  • Independent stores selling non-food products must remain closed all day Good Friday and Christmas Day and up until 1pm on ANZAC Day.

What has changed for them?

  • as from 31 August 2017 staff limits will be increased to 30 and 100 respectively.

What are the changes for large hardware stores?

  • Large hardware stores and builders’ material suppliers will be able to open from 6am Monday to Sunday and most public holidays.
  • Closing times will be
    • Monday to Friday 9pm
    • Saturday 9pm in SEQ and 6pm other areas
    • 6pm on Sundays and public holidays.

Are there any changes for car or caravan retail sales yards?

  • No. Motor vehicle and caravan retailers will retain their existing trading hours arrangements.

What are the changes for non-exempt stores?

  • Non-exempt shops are the large retail grocery and department stores. Queenslanders will be able to shop in large grocery and department stores:
  • Monday – Friday:
    • 7am – 9pm in South east Queensland;
    • 8am – 9pm outside SEQ*
  • Saturday:
    • 7am – 9pm in South east Queensland;
    • 8am – 6pm outside SEQ.
  • Sundays and most public holidays:
    • 9am- 6pm.

*The Townsville Tourist Area which will retain the arrangements under the current Act allowing it to open from 7am Monday to Friday.

The new hours will not operate in those regional areas that, prior to 31 August 2017, didn’t  already have trading on Sunday or public holidays.

Will further extension of allowable hours for large retail (non-exempt) stores be considered?

  • No applications to further extend trading hours can be made to the QIRC for a five year period.
  • This will allow the new hours to operate for sufficient time to fully understand the effects of extended trading.
  • Government will complete a review of trading hours again before the end of this five year moratorium period.

Which public holidays are closed days for large retail (non-exempt) stores?

– Christmas Day
– Good Friday
– Labour Day.

  • Easter Sunday is not a mandatory closed day.
  • Employers must pay penalty rates for working on a public holiday according to the relevant industrial award.

What are the trading hours for non-exempt shops in special and tourist areas?

  • In special and tourist areas (i.e. Cairns CBD, New Farm, Hamilton North Shore, Gold Coast Coastal Tourist Area, Pacific Fair Shopping Centre, Port Douglas, Great Barrier Reef Wonderland Tourist Complex) non-exempt shops may open:
  • 6am – 10pm Monday to Friday
  • 7am – 10pm Saturday
  • 7am – 9pm Sunday and most public holidays.

Is extended trading in the lead up to Christmas affected?

  • The large grocery and department stores in all areas of the state will be able to open from 8am to 6pm on the three Sundays prior to 18 December and until midnight from 18 to 23 December.
  • Those shops must close at 6pm on Christmas Eve. The 24 hour shopping arrangements currently in place for Westfield Chermside and Garden City will continue.

Why are shops closing at 6pm Christmas Eve?

  • The early closure on 24 December is to allow retail workers to spend time with family and friends and rest after the busiest retail sales period of the year.

Can retail workers be forced to work the extended trading hours?

No. A retail worker must agree to work the extended hours. The Act requires that the agreement must be voluntary and in writing.

Last updated: 4 September 2017