The Queensland Hotels Association has called for labour laws to be reformed to allow restaurants to remain competitive.

They say the current laws are bad for businesses, workers and consumers.

Jorge Branco reports.


The Brisbane River, the heart of the city, and in the past the heart of its restaurant industry.

But in recent times expensive restaurants by the riverside have struggled as people rein in their spending.

Martin Duncan, Queensland Food Beverage Industry: “There’s still people going out doing business lunches at a higher end, but not as flamboyant as they were maybe five years ago.”

Low consumer confidence plays a big part.

But the Queensland Hotels Association say industrial relations laws are also to blame.

Justin O’Connor, Chief Executive Queensland Hotels Association: “They’ve made our workforce less flexible and more expensive. Particularly with regard to holiday loadings and weekend loadings.”

They want the flexibility to negotiate a Wednesday to Sunday working week as standard.

Justin O’Connor, Chief Executive Queensland Hotels Association: “For the first time in living memory, hospitality businesses are not opening on public holidays and sometimes on weekends.”

But not all of Brisbane’s eateries are struggling.

There’s been a recent surge in the lower end of the market.

Martin Duncan, Queensland Food Beverage Industry: “The places that people are going to, it really is value for money.”

For many people, price and convenience is the key.

Vox 1:”It’s cheap, easy, and obviously, and it’s good for you.”

At just $2 a roll, it’s no surprise people are queuing up down the block for sushi.

Meanwhile at Eagle Street, Brisbane’s traditional food hub, many restaurants have closed up entirely, and others sit half empty over the lunchtime period.

Jorge Branco, QUT News.