A step back for DST

THE cross-border time-warp looks set to con-%tinue, with Queensland Premier Anna Bligh yesterday ruling out a state-wide referendum on daylight saving (DST). Ms Bligh said research commissioned by former premier Peter Beattie in June to determine whether Queenslanders had changed their views on DST found little support for its introduction outside the south-east corner. Tweed and southern Gold Coast business leaders were yesterday scathing of the decision, saying split time zones had long caused disruption to trading and inconvenience for local families. Southern Gold Coast Chamber of Commerce boss Barry McNamara said the local business sector would continue to press the government on the issue. "The issue's not dead in the water as far as the southern Gold Coast is concerned. It's not going to go away until the government does something sensible about it," he said. On a visit to the Gold Coast last month, Ms Bligh had raised the hopes of time-confused%locals either side of the border with a pledge to consider the issue once results of the state-wide survey were made available. The introduction of a split time zone in south-east Queensland had been widely tipped as a possible solution to the long-running stalemate. But yesterday Ms Bligh rejected daylight saving for the Sunshine State, saying research showed only 36 per cent of Queenslanders outside the state's south-east region supported its intro-%duction. The question of introducing daylight saving in Queensland was narrowly defeated in a 1992 referendum, 54.6 per cent to 45.4 per cent. While Peter Beattie was well-known for his personal distaste for DST, Ms Bligh was reputed to hold a more magnanimous viewpoint. "It's unfortunate that the opportunity to have a good look at daylight saving seems to have passed the government by," Mr McNamara said. "It's about time Queensland got smarter." Tweed Chamber of Commerce president Michael Tree said the decision showed a clear lack of political will to split the state's time zones. "It's frustrating, but it's certainly not surprising,"said Mr Tree, following Ms Bligh's announcement. "I don't think anyone in the Tweed business community was getting their hopes up." Meanwhile, Twin Towns boss Rob Smith labelled the decision a loss for the border region's business and tourism industry. "The government's failure to respond to what is a national norm is certainly disappointing," Mr Smith said. "It's a disparity that's holding the entire region back from playing a full part in the Australian tourism industry. "The entire eastern seaboard is part of a single country and as such should be treated as one." DST is due to start in NSW on October 28.

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