Shoppers are likely to flock to the city's shopping centres, if Sunday trading is approved in Toowoomba.
Shoppers are likely to flock to the city's shopping centres, if Sunday trading is approved in Toowoomba. Kevin Farmer
BATTLE lines are forming as the time-honoured debate over Sunday trading in Toowoomba returns to City Hall today.
 
Three years ago the Toowoomba City Council was scorned for failing to take a stand.

Instead, those councillors sat on the fence and urged people to lobby the State members.

The new Toowoomba Regional Council is unlikely to bravely take a definite position today either.

Instead, the councillors are set to consider outlaying $15,000 and seek community feedback.

And that survey could call for input on other ticklish issues such as the all-important name for the new council.

Council"s acting manager for Economic Development John Hickey, in his report to go to council today, admits it's difficult to argue the case for Sunday trading in Toowoomba purely on economic and industry grounds.

"While the concept of Sunday worship and family and community gatherings may appear to be a little hackneyed, it is nonetheless valid for this council"s community.

"Perhaps we could promote ourselves as the 'time out" centre where people could well and truly smell the roses on a Sunday," Mr Hickey wrote.

Councillors will gain an insight into the retail sector which is skewed in favour of small and family enterprises with 71 per cent of them employing no more than four people.

The retail sector is the third largest employer after health care and manufacturing.

"While more difficult to define, but no less as valid, the community concerns need to be factored into the council decision-making process," he wrote.

Mr Hickey concedes confusion currently reigns under current legislation and definitions.

WOW opens on Sundays, JB Hi-Fi does not.

Harvey Norman can trade, Myer cannot because of staff numbers.

Bunnings can trade under the hardware classification.

The Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce remains pro Sunday trading.

During the previous debate the chamber lost an appeal to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) to allow widespread seven-day trade in the region.

The Chamber of Commerce lost three family owned business members, including Hanna"s clothing store, over its stand.

The QIRC placed a moratorium on extended trading hours hearings in Toowoomba which expires in November.

Mr  Hickey believes council should be prepared. Sunday trading was introduced in south-east Queensland in 2002.

Initially it was introduced in the highly populated areas of Brisbane and the Gold and Sunshine Coasts.

Recently Cairns, Townsville and Ipswich accepted Sunday trading and Mackay is considering it, but that council is opposed.
 

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