Newman locks up trading hours

Premier Campbell Newman has all but ruled out an extension to shop trading hours after an independent report by the Queensland Competition Authority found the move could result in an additional $200 million for retailers.

It was reported on Saturday the government was likely to agree to the trading extension but Mr Newman said there would need to be a ''very strong case'' made to change the current system, as the sustainability of small business needed to be protected.

''We don't want them to be smashed by the power of the majors, the two major supermarket chains, who have very strong market power,'' the Premier said.

''And there is an ongoing public interest argument by the small retailers that simply going to an open slather will impact on them and ultimately lower competition in the marketplace.

''So I want to say today very clearly that it is my government's position, and it is the party that I represent's position, that we would only contemplate the change to trading hours if there was a very strong case made for it. At this stage, we do not see that case.''

Mr Newman said Queenslanders needed to be ''careful what they wish for'' if they supported extended shopping hours.

''That wonderful small local supermarket, that small local store, could disappear totally if we just go open slather in this state,'' the Premier said.

''There is an ongoing process and responsibility by the Queensland Competition Authority to consider such matters, and that, I think, is the basis of the story today.

''Government is always looking at various policy options and the like, but to make the leap that we're going to a full deregulation situation is simply not the case.

''At any time, hard-working public servants are looking at policy options on a variety of different issues but it is a different matter to suggest the government is then about to adopt something.

''We're not about to adopt this one in the way that's been suggested.''

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