December 29, 2003


Filed under: — @ 13:54

In the Courier Mail’s article, Time warp mentality in Dumb State, Paul Syvret opines that Daylight Savings – or, in our case, a lack of it – costs Queensland in missed meetings, business, and inter-state schedule issues.

Oh, boy, here we go again. Hasn’t this been beaten to death – on an annual basis – enough already?

Listen to the all too real tales of lost opportunity, higher costs and logistical hardship visited upon us by our Slow State recalcitrance.

Six years ago, Suncorp Metway estimated the real cost of daylight saving – or more accurately its absence – at “in excess of $2 million”.

Those costs arose from juggling treasury operations and extending hours for workers trying to operate across different time zones. And that was six years ago – when the bank had only a fraction of the interstate presence that is does today.

Got a morning meeting in Sydney on Wednesday?

Chances are then that you’ll have to fly south on Tuesday evening and spend a night in a city hotel if you’re going to make that appointment. And you better make that an early evening flight on Tuesday because given the hour time difference the last Brisbane-Sydney commuter flight leaves at about 8.20 to make sure it lands before the Sydney airport curfew cuts in.

Suncorp, as they’re now known, have business in Western Australia, South Australia, and the Northern Territory. I know! Let’s move them forward a few hours, too, just for the hell of it.

Any business that operates on even a vaguely national basis can relate countless horror stories of missed conference calls and various nightmares when it comes to scheduling meetings.

And any business that operates on even a vaguely international basis learned to deal with that problem years ago. It’s something called “Time Management” and “Timezone Consciousness,” and I recommend you try it.

Actually, to hell with it – if it costs that much to work across zonal boundaries, let’s all move to a common time framework, such as UTC. Surely that’s a more pragmatic, and more sensible, solution for the global economy? Don’t I sound like a right steaming twit now?

Sure, there was a referendum on the issue during the Goss years which was lost largely on the weight of the “no” vote from the north and west of the state.

In the southeast corner, however – the financial heart of the state – the vote was strongly and sensibly in favour of adopting daylight saving.

If Beattie is actually listening to business, if his antenna is actually on “receive” in the state’s populous southeast, he will drop his obdurate opposition to daylight saving.

At least – at the very least, on a zonal basis.

Political pragmatism may preclude foisting an extra hour of warmth and light upon places such as Mount Isa and Townsville in the heat of summer.

A referendum’s a referendum. Business might not like it, but the majority of Queenslanders state-wide were against the idea. Twice, in fact. End. Of. Story. Have another referendum and change it that way; I doubt the majority opinion has changed that much.

And – I know this from experience – coming home at “3pm” on a school day in the heat of summer, when the sun’s at it’s fiercest thanks to the width of the state, is not a good way to discourage sunburn. If the school day were longer or started later, that wouldn’t be such an issue, but the fact remains that most schools close at 3pm, and with DST that becomes a diurnal 2pm, which for the more western parts of the state puts the sun at about the 1pm position in the sky. For this and this alone, anywhere west of the Sunshine Coast (remembering, most of the state is significantly west of this point) have every right to not want DST.

Besides all this, I’m fairly sure that splitting the state down-the-middle would, as has been discussed before, sillier than leaving things as they are – imagine government organisations who operate state-wide trying to remember which “side of the line” a particular branch office is. Government organisations have enough trouble organising themselves without having to deal with a timezone rift.

Or, to use the same example, Suncorp trying to deal with country branches (Oh, that’s right, they closed all those, didn’t they? They don’t deal with country customers, you say – just interstate ones? Maybe the point’s moot then). I wonder how much that would cost them by comparison.

I’m certainly not against DST. If it came in, then as a non-farmer, non-student, non-government employee, it’d not affect me in the slightest; it’s the argument put forward time and again that gives me the shits.

I have my own way of dealing with this state’s absence of DST. I get up earlier, and go to bed a bit earlier too. That way I get the best of the day.

Perhaps, Mr. Syvret, you should try the same if it irks you so.


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