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10/25/2006, Australia - "West to clock on for daylight saving after Carpenter backs trial", Amanda O'Brien, West Australian political reporter


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WESTERN Australia is set to trial daylight saving this summer, defying the results of three referendums since 1975, and leaving Queensland and the Northern Territory as the only places where it is not observed.

The turnaround follows crucial support yesterday from Premier Alan Carpenter for a three-year trial to start on December 3 and a decision by both sides of politics to give MPs a free vote on setting the clocks an hour ahead, when legislation is debated next week.

Daylight saving will begin this Sunday in NSW, the ACT, Victoria and South Australia. It started in Tasmania on October 1.

Queensland Premier Peter Beattie was criticised by oncologists for saying daylight saving would worsen Queensland's skin cancer rate, especially among children who would take advantage of the extra hour of sunlight to play outdoors.

"One of the issues in a state where we've got the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world - an extra hour of daylight is going to make that worse," Mr Beattie said.

But Queensland Cancer Fund's director of epidemiology, associate professor Joanne Aitken, said that belief was wrong.

"I can say that there's no evidence to suggest any increased risk of skin cancer as a result," Professor Aitkin said. "The middle of the day is the period that's most dangerous for skincancer ... and daylight saving doesn't increase the amount of peak UV hours that we have in the day."

As Western Australia's peak business group celebrated the move to cut the three-hour summer time gap between Perth and the eastern states, the mining lobby warned of potential disadvantages for the state's booming export-driven economy.

West Australian Chamber of Minerals and Energy director David Parker said the benefits of improved alignment with eastern states' time zones had to be balanced against potential disadvantage in key Asian export markets.

But West Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief John Langoulant said the impact on Asian time zones was far outweighed by the benefits to business generally.

The free vote for MPs ensures a daylight saving trial will proceed, because most individually support thechange.

And after intervention by the Premier late yesterday, the two MPs who led the daylight saving charge - independent John D'Orazio and Liberal Matt Birney - agreed to merge their separate bills.

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