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Rugby referee blows the whistle on daylight saving

By Alistair Gray

Long-time local Bribie resident and founder and proponent of ‘The Real-Time Initiative’, Graeme Brittenden, is calling for standardising time zones across the eastern seaboard all year round. Removing the standard time zone confusion between Queensland, New South Wales, ACT, Victoria and Tasmania each summer, will generate significant business cost-savings, boost government revenues and simplify life as well as putting an end to those perpetual arguments about daylight saving.

Effectively standardising the eastern seaboard time zones will mean 88% of the population (22 million people) will be in the same time zone all year, leaving only South Australia and Western Australia with different time zones. In addition, standardising time zones would mean daylight saving would be abandoned. Instead, the time zones of the eastern states mentioned above would have their standard time moved forward 30 minutes never to change again.

Graeme sparked my interest, so I eagerly sat down to hear more about his proposals. Graeme is a former rugby referee and both of us are originally from Wellington, New Zealand - we had a lot in common.

“Wow! Think about it,” Graeme said. “No more time zone confusion at the border, at the airport and when travelling. Arranging cross-border business meetings without time zones to worry about, will be a breeze. No more having to switch TV channels to continue watching cricket or rugby or businesses having difficulties arranging urgent spare parts from other eastern states with time delays because of time zones. Even more sunshine time in Queensland!”

There has been growing interest in Graeme’s proposal from various business groups and the government, including former treasurer Josh Frydenberg. Back in 2010, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) conducted a survey of 2250 businesses across south-eastern Queensland. Results indicated they suffered a loss of sales, productivity, increased staffing, and extra travel and accommodation costs of $4.35 billion as a direct result of the different time zones.

The CCIQ survey was completed 12 years ago before the advent of Zoom and at a time when smartphones and 4G were just being rolled out. We were yet to see the impacts of the pandemic, with the rapid change in work-from-home and other new collaborative online business practices. Before the unpredictable era of staff shortages across almost every sector and significant problems with staff burnout and stress. In addition, employee demands for a better lifestyle, reduced working hours and more flexibility mean that mental health and employee welfare are unnegotiable issues in many workplaces.

The issue is complex and while we all would like to see a standardisation of time zones, it is hard to see New South Wales and Victoria giving up half an hour of ‘summertime’ along with the lifestyle and mental health benefits of extended daylight. However, adding an extra half an hour of light during winter may be an attractive offset to some.

There are winners and losers with the proposed transition to a single time zone across the eastern states. The proposal requires proper investigation and debate by the federal and state governments. Congratulations must go to Graeme Brittenden for his initiative and proposed solution to a complex problem.


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