Queensland moves to override council delivery curfews

ALC welcomes legislation and calls on other states to follow

Queensland moves to override council delivery curfews
Cameron Dick


The Queensland government has introduced legislation seeking to lift local council curfews on overnight deliveries for the duration of the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic, in response to unprecedented consumer demand.

Subject to passage through the state parliament, the laws will come into effect in coming days, enabling retailers, suppliers and transport operators to alter existing systems and schedules to operate to 24-hour cycles.

"We’ve seen unprecedented demand for groceries like non-perishable food, toilet paper and other essentials," premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says in a statement.

"We are not running out of products but we need to make these changes to get products on the shelves as quickly as possible."

Planning minister Cameron Dick says his department is working with industry to identify problems and take actions to facilitate supply chain movement.

Part of the reforms would see the Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning (DSDMIP) establish a new Essential Goods Supply Committee.

Dick says the committee would liaise with retailers, manufacturers, meat and food processors, essential goods manufacturers, transport and logistics companies, wholesalers and unions to ensure essential supply chains keep flowing during an emergency event.

"Our message to business and industry is that if you encounter any problems with production, supply, import or manufacturing, our government is ready to respond quickly to help address those problems the best we can.

"There are no problems with fundamental supply now, and we want to keep it that way.

"The department’s central and regional staff will be working hard to ensure we identify any potential gaps in the supply chain and respond quickly."

Industry bodies' advice on virus response

The new laws would also amend the Planning Act to support local government that may be affected by staff shortages.

"The changes will ensure that if there are delays due to staff shortages in considering development applications for new buildings, they will not be approved by default due to the automatic operation of the law," the statement notes.


The Queensland government’s statement was accompanied by Queensland Woolworths general manager Chris Peters and Coles Queensland state general manager Jerry Farrell, both of whom welcomed the planning changes.

"Our team members and suppliers have been working hard to ensure our customers can continue to do their weekly shop," Farrell says.

Peters adds: "The short-term exemption from delivery curfews will allow our teams more flexibility and additional delivery windows to respond to customer demand."

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC), which has lobbied federal ministers on the bottleneck issue, was swift to welcome this decision and calls on other states to follow suit.

"The Queensland Government should be applauded for taking this decisive step, which will support the logistics sector and local communities in the face of this unprecedented situation," ALC CEO Kirk Coningham says.

"As ALC has emphasised in discussions with both the Minster for Industry, Science and Technology, Hon. Karen Andrews and the Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government Hon. Mark Coulton, one of the biggest challenges to keeping supermarkets and other retail stores stocked in this period is the ability to physically get goods to consumers.

"The most effective way to overcome instances of panic buying is to reassure the Australian community about the availability of essential day-to-day items, and the best way to provide that reassurance is to make certain products are on shelves when consumers need them.

"Curfews on delivery vehicles imposed by local governments have been inhibiting that outcome, and the Queensland government’s decisive action is a welcome recognition that the logistics sector must be supported in its efforts to get goods to consumers during these extraordinary times.

"ALC calls on other state and territory governments to immediately match Queensland’s commitment today and legislate to override delivery vehicle curfews for the duration of the Covid-19 crisis."


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