Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Retail regulation costs Qld jobs

Queensland Economy Watch has a post critical of the recent failure of a bid to extend weekend retail trading hours:  Setback for Qld consumers as extended Saturday trading hours bid is dropped.

This is probably something we may not notice quite so much in Cairns where there are some concessions for tourist areas. Woolworths and Coles in the Cairns CBD have been able to trade until 9pm on weekends since last year. This latest modest proposal was to extend only to 7pm throughout Queensland.

There is an interesting link to an opinion post last year by economist Joe Owen: Shutting up shop is harming our economy. 
Of all the many economic reforms that could benefit the lives of Queenslanders, extending retail trading hours should be a no-brainer for Queensland Premier Anna Bligh because it is good for Queensland workers, good for consumers, good for governments and good for Queensland communities generally, especially in our regions. 
Has extending retail trading hours south of the border in NSW, Victoria and Tasmania led to the destruction of the Australian culture or, rather, increased employment for the low-skilled, teenagers and students  trying to make their own way in the world?  And the proof is already there - the deregulation of retail trading hours in Victoria in the late 1990s led to an increase in retail employment of more than 11,000 workers in the first 12 months.
Sadly, there seems to be a bi-partisan approach to resist retail reform. Weak employment in retail and lower skill areas have been noted over the past year. The RBA today cut the benchmark rate by a further 0.25% with a softening labour market apparently the main concern:
Labour market data have shown moderate employment growth and the rate of unemployment has thus far remained low. The Bank's assessment, though, is that the labour market has generally softened somewhat in recent months.
A recent report from the ACTU has a good overview of labour market conditions which may be of interest: Jobs Report

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