Queensland’s attitude to shopping on Public holidays is under fire.

Many Brisbane residents were angry that only one major supermarket was open on Labour Day, and that was because it was on federal land at the airport.

Melissa Mackay reports.


Woolworths at DFO Skygate became a scene of retail chaos yesterday, the only supermarket not covered by state regulations and allowed to open.

The National Retailers Association is pushing for Queensland legislative reform to give major retailers the choice to open their doors on the Labour Day public holiday.

Dominique Lamb, National Retail Association: “The NRA supports Labour Day being a trading day in Queensland.”

Many shoppers were taken by surprise but turned to independent stores like IGA, which avoided the restrictions because they’re smaller operators.

Vox 1: “I think people deserve a day off to be honest, even retail workers.”

For convenience stores it’s a blessing.

Dharmin Soni, Independent Grocer: “Yesterday we had more than 200 customers walk into the store and they really appreciated that we were open on the public holiday.”

Others believe workers should be given the option to work on Labour Day.

Vox 2: “They’ve got to look after the workers too. They work for a reason and if they want to work to earn money, it keeps them going, it should be up to them.”

After Easter and ANZAC Day, yesterday’s Labour Day public holiday meant Queenslanders could enjoy a fourth consecutive short week.

That comes at a hefty price to the industry with some operators unable to afford to pay penalty rates.

Dharmin Soni, Independent Grocer: “Being the business owner I can’t hire staff for the public holidays so I have to work myself.”

It’s unclear what impact the Fair Work Commission’s decision to slash penalty rates, will have on the state’s public holiday trade.

Melissa Mackay, QUT News.