Council oppose seven-day trading

COUNCILLORS at yesterday's general meeting stuck to their guns to oppose seven-day trading at next week's Industrial Relations Commission hearing.

After initially submitting that Southern Downs Regional Council would sit on the Sunday trading fence, councillors at last week's committee meeting resurrected the issue and decided to enter a second submission against it.

Despite their decision, there were still some concerns that if the application to the commission is rejected, another application cannot be submitted for three years.

It is still unclear whether the commission will accept the second submission, though councillors were hopeful both will be heard.

At next Wednesday and Thursday's hearing in Toowoomba, Mayor Ron Bellingham will have the chance to present council's position.

During the week councillors were called to the Warwick Chamber of Commerce meeting to explain their decision.

Cr Ross Bartley told yesterday's meeting that council was lobbied and talked to people the chamber may not have had contact with, residents, employees and small businesses not members.

“We are giving the sentiments of the broader community,” he said.

Cr Bartley argued that Southern Downs residents take pride in the “way we live, work and play,” and that seven-day trading may jeopardise that lifestyle.

Cr Neil Meiklejohn said he understood his fellow councillors' point of view, but his concern was that already in Warwick there was an uneven playing field, and if the status quo remains, so does the inequity.

He stressed that he would like the Mayor to still represent both sides of the argument.

However, Deputy Mayor Peter Blundell said the Warwick Chamber of Commerce would be representing the pro-sentiment.

“The role of council is to more broadly take in the bigger picture.”



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