The residents of Mount Isa should decide what kind of a city they want to live in, with regards to extended trading hours, says the Member for Mount Isa, Robbie Katter.

“Now that we know the National Retail Association has applied for Sunday trading on behalf of its large corporations, it’s important to hear what people living and working in Mount Isa actually want for their city,” Mr Katter said.

Mr Katter said he was pleased with the decision on Monday by the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission to hold the November hearings at the Mount Isa District Court.

“At least those who seek to put their side of the story in this matter will be heard in Mount Isa, rather than Brisbane,” Mr Katter said.

He launched a petition today, seeking support from the Mount Isa City Council to fight against the application seeking longer trading hours for non-exempt shops in Mount Isa.

Non-exempt shops are large retail shops which are currently not permitted to open on Sundays, or later than 5pm on Saturdays.

Mr Katter said those large retail shops have never contributed anything substantial to any organisation, charity or sporting body in Mount Isa and that was endorsed by Councillor Kim Coghlan and owner-operators who met with Mr Katter yesterday.

Mr Katter said one of his biggest concerns would be the impact of Sunday trading on the small owner-operator grocery stores out in the suburbs.

“These are the ones who will be punished if Sunday trading gets the go ahead. It could mean they have to close down, and that would be a loss to the city after years of serving us well.

“I wouldn’t like to see these owners and their staff lose their livelihoods and their jobs, but that is what will happen if this goes ahead.”

“And that would be a tragedy because these small businesses have given so much to our community, especially to our sporting organisations.”

Cr Kim Coghlan, chairwoman of the Council’s Sport and Recreation Committee, said her sporting and community groups got a lot of funding from the small independent stores and if they went out of business that would be another blow to sport in Mount Isa.

“Sport has already suffered from the 12-hour shifts. Sunday trading would put another nail in the coffin for sport in Mount Isa.

“If kids are serving in the big retail stores on a Sunday, they won’t be playing sport.