Counting the cost of DST

DAYLIGHT saving acts as an eco- nomic black hole for Tweed and Gold Coast industry, outraged local business owners told the Daily News yesterday. Their comments come as the Tweed and Gold Coast business community prepares to ramp up ef- forts to put DST back on the agen- --------------- --------------- da, following Queensland Premier Anna Bligh's controversial deci- sion this week to rule out a referen- dum on the issue. The move has been widely con- demned by business leaders both sides of the border who say the true economic impact of daylight saving has never been accurately costed. "It costs time; it costs money and it costs family time. It may only be --------------- --------------- little things, but those little things all add up," said Tweed business owner John Hurd. "There's loss of income from both sides of the border, but no sur- vey has ever been put forward on the economics and I'd like to know why." Southern Gold Coast Chamber of Commerce boss Barry McNamara said the business community would not be "walking away from the issue". "We will be keeping the pres- sure on," said Mr McNamara. Yesterday their campaign found support from the highest levels, with Prime Minister John Howard saying he was supportive of the in- troduction of a split time-zone in south-east Queensland. However, business leaders were mostly dismissive of a proposal to introduce a designated time zone for the Gold Coast, saying the plan, flagged this week by Gold Coast Mayor Ron Clarke, would further cloud the issue. "It needs to be something regu- lated and statutory otherwise it just adds to the confusion," Mr McNamara said. Mr Hurd, who runs monthly Bu- siness Excellence breakfasts at the Tweed Heads Bowls Club, said the Queensland government's lat- est dismissal of DST had generat- ed near unprecedented levels of concern in local business circles. "I've never experienced so much anger. And it's across the board, from accountants to shopkeepers and fast-food outlets, it affects eve- ryone," he said. Tweed newsagent Paul Hodges labelled DST a "disaster" for busi- ness and family life. Mr Hodges, who runs Centro Tweed News but lives on the Gold Coast, said he was forced to in- crease staffing levels during DST periods to cover longer working hours. "It adds another hour to my day and I either have to do it myself and fall over or I have to find the money for extra staff," he said. "It's a double whammy. It costs my business and it costs me in fa- mily time." Mr Hurd called on the Queens- land government to act to unify time zones in cross-border areas as had already been done in other states. "We are one area. There's no magic line down Tweed and Coo- langatta," he said.



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