Daylight Savings: Proposal for a Policy for the Southern Gold Coast Chamber of Commerce

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Introduction:Daylight savings is a vital issue for Small business in Queensland. Queenslanders are now working longer days than ever before , greatly reducing the chance we have to enjoy the great outdoors at the end of the day. A referendum in 1992 on the question was lost, but the debate has re-ignited, possibly because of the growth in the population of south-east Queensland by some 75 000 people a year. However, businesses are still split on daylight saving generally on regional grounds, between southeast Queensland and the regions.

The argument has long existed that there is no need for daylight saving in Queensland's tropical north.

The 1992 Queensland referendum produced a 54.5% 'No' vote. The 'Yes' support was much higher in the state's urban South-East, but the opposition in rural and regional areas sank the proposal. The South-East electorates uniformly supported the proposal in 1992, and their percentage of Queensland’s population has grown since 1992.

Brisbane area returns 25 members of parliament60.5% Yes voteIpswich area returns 3 members of parliament54.7Logan-Redlands area returns 7 members of parliament65.1Strathpine-Caboolture area returns 5 members of parliament55.9Gold Coastarea returns 8 members of parliament69.31
Dating from a fuel savings measure during the First World War, Summer time (as proposed in the Daylight Saving Bill) was in 1916, and it was thought that the savings on fuel from lighter evenings would contribute to the War effort. Investigations in 1917 showed that the use of Summertime had slightly reduced traffic accidents, improved public order and health, but had caused problems for farmers harvesting their crops. 2 The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme is proposing the most significant transformation of the Australian economy, and this fuel savings measure could help. While a majority of Australians remain concerned about the impact of climate change and support reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the impact of the global financial crisis has raised fresh fears about the economic consequences of this scheme.

Background of organisationThe Southern Gold Coast Chamber of Commerce is a not-for-profit organisation representing the businesses of the Southern Gold Coast area. The Chamber lobbies all levels of government on behalf of our members, and is regularly consulted on business issues. The Chamber works closely with other Chamber organisations on the Gold Coast.

The Chamber addresses issues affecting small business and are often asked for comment on liquor licences, development approvals and other issues that affect small business.

Developments to dateThere is now pressure, as shown by the 22 000 primary votes the DS4SEQ party gained in the last elections, for a trial of two time zones in Queensland during the summer months. Gold Coast businesses are already rebelling, with some particularly on the southern end of the coast voluntarily switching over to daylight saving. As shown in the section on evidence, many politicians including many members of the Liberal National Party of Queensland support the proposal.

Proposed solutionSplitting Queensland into two time zones during the summer time, so that the time zone in the South East matches that in NSW Victoria and Tasmania. Daylight saving time can operate during the times it operates in the Southern States.This will cover the areas of Brisbane, Ipswich, Logan-Redlands, Strathpine-Caboolture andGold Coast. In the words of one local politician, “The south east and the Tweed region share an economic zone and seamless border. They should also share the same time zone”.

Evidence that the proposed solution is the most beneficial.

According to Labor Federal Member for McPherson Margaret May “Queensland is powering ahead and no where is this more evident that on the Southern Gold Coast and the Tweed region.3“We are a happening place with record tourist numbers....The region has a can do feel about it. That is until you hit summer; the border and then slam into two time zones. Then the tempo is lost.

“So much for Queensland being the smart State. “At the very least, there should be a trial for daylight saving, even if the southern Gold Coast has to go it alone.

The view is shared by the State Opposition. Speaking in 2006 on ABC Radio, the current shadow treasurer, Bruce Flegg said: “... if daylight savings led to children running around and getting more exercise out of doors, with appropriate sun protection it'd probably be a great advance in preventative health. ”4Daylight saving is therefore not only good for business, either small businesses or any size, in South East Queensland. The benefits are enormous for families and business and South-East Queenslanders would benefit from the extra daylight hours between 5 pm and 8 pm. It is potentially the bond that can glue families back together and minimises unhealthy reliance on TV or the internet as entertainment.

Although publicly announced support by farmers and National politicians in Queensland is rare, in similarly-conservative Western Australia there is some support for daylight saving:For example :
“I support it. My wife and I work and we like to get home and have a wander around the
block. We like to get a bit of exercise at the end of the day and get the kinks out….to be
honest; I just don’t see what all the fuss is about.”
Andy McMillan, Chief Executive, WA Farmers Federation,5
Even the Leader of the National Party, Brendan Grylls has in the past expressed strong
support for Daylight Saving :“If I was voting for myself I’d vote for it. My age demographic is strong supporters of it
because more leisure time after work is something all my peers would support.”
Brendan Grylls, Leader of the National Party6Keeping in mind the counter-arguments, and the little-known fact that three other states have two time zones, it is clear that a two-time-zone solution rather than a single one is best for a state as large as Queensland.

Counter-arguments and responsePETER BEATTIE, the former premier, didn’t like Daylight Saving. He thought that if children left school an hour earlier, under daylight saving, in the heat of the day when UV rays are the highest.7 The president of the Queensland Farmers Federation, John Cherry, argued that daylight saving disrupts the flow of life in country areas. He maintained that as you get closer to the equator, the merit of daylight saving becomes less and less. But he conceded that inflexible arrangements simply won't work in a state as big as Queensland, and thought that individual businesses in the southeast could consider opening an hour earlier to be in sync with businesses down south: “We do support flexible working hours across the board with working hours that fit in with the needs of workers and that obviously should be encouraged in the city areas.”8So why not all of them?New South Wales, Western Australia and South Australia are each split into two time zones. “Some towns on the Eyre Highway in the south-east corner of Western Australia, between the South Australian border almost as far as Caiguna, do not follow official Western Australian time. Instead, they use ... Central Western Standard Time, which was originally halfway between Western and Central time--UTC+8:45. The area maintained its fixed offset from UTC when daylight saving time was introduced in South Australia. Towns following this zone include Madura, Mundrabilla, Eucla and Border Village in South Australia. The total population of the area is estimated at 200.”9 Broken Hill, NSW is in the SA time zone.

ConclusionNorthern Queensland is used to being on a separate timezone to the Southern States for much of the year and should not be disadvantaged by the policy proposed: nothing changes for the part of Queensland outside the area which voted “Yes” in the 1992 referendum.

South-East Queensland, which desires a seamless timezone with the Tweed region and Southern businesses, can enjoy one under the policy proposed. Whilst there will be some “changeover” confusion between the regions, this is already experienced between the entire state and the southern states under the current proposal and at least for those living in the South-East corner this will be eliminated; for the others, if they ever embrace Daylight Savings, it will be also eliminated.

----1 Website of Dr John Fogarty, Daylight Saving for South East Queensland party candidate for Caloundra in most recent elections. Date accessed 13 May 2009.

2 The Royal Society For The Prevention of Accidents Single/Double Summer Time - Position Paper - May 2003 Revised September 2004 Updated October 2005 and October 2006.

3 from her official website4 The World Today ABC Radio, - Friday, 27 October , 20065 Sunday Times 29th March 20096 Sunday Times, December 20057 The World Today - Friday, 27 October , 20068 Paul Osborne , AAP, October 27, 20069 Date Accessed 14 May 2009.