Shoppers in regional Queensland won’t be locked out on Monday, December 28, after the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission (QIRC) today handed down its decision to allow a one-off amendment to regional Queensland’s trading hours for the gazetted Boxing Day public holiday.

Due to a quirk in this year’s holiday dates, major retailers in regional areas including Mount Isa, Ingham, Warwick, Goondiwindi, Longreach, Roma and Stanthorpe, had been set to be denied the ability to trade for four consecutive days over the 2015 Christmas period – December 25, 26, 27 and 28.

The situation had arisen as a result of the gazettal of the extra public holiday on Monday, 28 December when Boxing Day was due to fall on Saturday, 26 December, coupled with prevailing trading hours arrangements, which prevented major retailers in regional Queensland from trading on Sundays and public holidays.

The National Retail Association (NRA) in September launched a bid for a special exemption, to prevent residents in affected regions from having to brave the crush in order to stock up on groceries ahead of a four-day closure.

NRA CEO Trevor Evans said there was always extremely high levels of consumer demand on Christmas Eve, and that the regions were expecting the same on Tuesday December 29.

“That level of demand brings with it enormous congestion both inside and outside stores for shoppers, staff, and motorists, and creates unnecessary delays and inconvenience,” Mr Evans said.

Mr Evans praised the QIRC for its decision, which would also help to reduce the high level of spoilage experienced by retailers during closures of any more than two days.

“Long closures make it unworkable for certain perishable items that carry limited shelf life and make it difficult for supermarket managers to ensure the shelves are stocked for the onslaught of customers when the shops reopen.

“It’s also good news for non-food stores and regional shopping centres, who will now be in a better position to cater to consumers who may have otherwise headed to larger town centres for post-Christmas sales, simply because their own stores were closed,” he said.