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03/23/2007, Australia - "Clocky horror or time warp?", by Martin Philip, Courier Mail


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DAYLIGHT saving must be introduced in southeast Queensland to ensure the region never again falls out of step with Australia's other main population centres.

That's the belief of Ipswich city councillor Paul Tully. Goodna councillor and long-time daylight saving advocate Cr Tully says the economic and environmental benefits of a split time time zone for the state's southeast are too great to ignore.

"Not only would it deliver economic benefits, but the experience in the US is that that energy consumption drops when daylight saving is in operation," he said.

"We are now the odd state out in Australia and it's about time we moved into the 21st century on this issue."

Under the proposal, a split time zone with daylight saving would run from Cooloongatta, north to Noosa and west to Toowoomba. Adjoining local government areas would be able to opt-in to the scheme.

The renewed push for a split time zone comes as research in the US shows daylight saving could help fight global warming.

Peter Grace, the research director at QUT's Institute for Sustainable Resources, said the research provided "added incentive for states like Queensland to move to daylight saving for emission savings".

Australian Industry Group Queensland director Chris Rodwell favours a separate time zone for the southeast, but says local governments outside the zone needed to be free to opt out of the scheme.

"If we take part in a trial and determine it is the appropriate way way to go, I think it's time we bit the bullet on the issue and moved forward," he said.

"A trial of this type of system seems to make sense but we wouldn't support daylight saving across the entire state, because we have many members in North and Central Queensland areas where it's not practical."

Businesses would be among the main beneficiaries of a uniform time zone down the eastern seaboard, Mr Rodwell said.

"There are many companies which are running operations across the eastern seaboard and it would help them by creating consistency."

At the 1992 referendum, voters in 51 of the 57 electorates in the southeast supported daylight saving.

Queensland is the only state without daylight saving after Western Australia started a trial in December.

But West Australians are as divided as ever after the first summer of its three-year daylight saving trial.

With critics and even one of the scheme's main advocates already calling for a planned 2009 referendum to be brought forward, senior government ministers are being forced to defend daylight saving.

Royal Life Saving Society head Alex McKenzie said "shorter" mornings were destroying Perth's beach-friendly lifestyle, and he called for daylight saving to be dropped.

"The sad thing is that where Perth beaches used to be full from 6am, people are just not coming to the beach in the morning," Mr McKenzie said yesterday.

"It's had a devastating effect on the coastal communities and I'll be glad to see it end this season on Sunday."

WA Treasurer and daylight saving spokesman Eric Ripper, who last year touted the trial as an "important step towards modernising WA and maximising our lifestyle opportunities", insists it is vital for interstate business.

"Both houses of parliament, in a free vote, decided on a three-year trial for a good reason we need more than one summer to make a proper assessment," he said.

Daylight saving last in force in WA 15 years ago was introduced in December and will run between November and March during the trial period.

Voters will decide in a referendum scheduled for 2009 whether it becomes a permanent fixture.

Concerns about daylight saving have started to come from unlikely quarters in WA, with state Liberal MP Matt Birney who co-sponsored the Bill which enacted it this month calling for a reduction of daylight saving hours.

Mr Birney wants October to be added to the trial period and January, February and March cut.

"It was never my intention for daylight saving to be a constant source of harsh debate within the community and I am genuinely trying to find a compromise position that will address the negative arguments while still embracing daylight saving as a concept," reports quoted Mr Birney as saying.

Independent MP and co-sponsor of the Bill, John D'Orazio, said this week he had received several threatening emails from people opposed to daylight saving.

The Perth-based Daylight Saving Party has mounted arguments linking daylight saving to stronger family relationships, better health outcomes, greater economic efficiency and even reduced road deaths.

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