The Palaszczuk Government will introduce urgent reforms to help ensure supermarkets stay well stocked to deal with unprecedented demand for groceries.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said new laws will enable the Government to address planning conditions that currently restrict the operating hours of loading docks and distribution centres supplying supermarkets.
The changes will come into effect in days and allow them to operate 24 hours a day when necessary, the Premier said.
“We’ve seen unprecedented demand for groceries like non-perishable food, toilet paper and other essentials,” the Premier said.
“We are not running out of products.
“But we need to make these changes to get products on the shelves as quickly as possible.
“The message is clear – you do not need to panic buy or unnecessarily stockpile products.
“Our mighty Queensland manufacturers and food processors are keeping supplies flowing.
“The Chief Health Officer made it clear at the weekend that if you’re in isolation and you run out of food, call 13HEALTH who can organise for food to be delivered.
“But these changes are aimed at getting more groceries on the shelves quicker.”
Planning Minister Cameron Dick said that his department was working hard to support Queenslanders.
“As this pandemic developed, I directed my Department to work with industry to identify problems and to take actions to ensure supply chains remain strong.
“My Department has worked round the clock to ensure these amendments can be brought forward without delay, and to keep our shelves restocked.
Chris Peters, General Manager, Queensland Woolworths Supermarkets said the demand had been unprecedented.
"Our teams and many of our suppliers have been working round-the-clock to replenish our stores with essential items,” he said.
“We're grateful that the Queensland Government has acted in support of community needs at this time. The short-term exemption from delivery curfews will allow our teams more flexibility and additional delivery windows to respond to customer demand.”
Jerry Farrell, Coles Queensland State General Manager welcomed the planning changes.
“Our team members and suppliers have been working hard to ensure our customers can continue to do their weekly shop,” he said.
“We welcome the support of the Queensland Government in working with Coles to ensure we can get more deliveries into our stores and customers can buy the things they need.”
Mr Dick also said the Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning (DSDMIP) will also establish a new Essential Goods Supply Committee.
The committee will work with retailers, manufacturers, meat and food processors, essential goods manufacturers, transport & 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,” Mr Dick said
“There are no problems with fundamental supply now, and we want to keep it that way.”
DSDMIP will also suspend non-essential activities including some workshops and information events to focus the work of all staff on supporting business and industry to address the impacts of COVID19.
“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,” the Minister said.
The Palaszczuk Government’s new laws will also amend the Planning Act to support Local Government in case they are 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.
Mr Dick said subject to passage through the Queensland Parliament, the reforms will come into effect in coming days, which will enable retailers, suppliers and transport operators to alter existing systems and schedules.
Premier and Minister for Trade
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning
The Honourable Cameron Dick