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Brisbane mayor calls for a daylight saving trial in Queensland 30 years after state's last referendum

Brisbane's mayor is urging the state government to give daylight saving another go, more than 30 years after it was last trialled.

Daylight saving began for most parts of Australia on Sunday at 2am, meaning most Australians have now set their clock forward one hour to make the most of sunny spring and summer days. 

That means the annual debate over whether to introduce the initiative to Queensland has also kicked off.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner on Sunday said Queensland residents should have another opportunity to make up their minds, calling on the state government to trial the scheme once again.

"All I'm asking is if people go give it a try, and then let people have their say," he said.

Daylight saving was last trialled in Queensland in the early 1990s, with the state voting against keeping the scheme in 1992 

At the time, it was more popular in south-east Queensland than northern and western parts of the state.

"Thirty years ago [was] the last time that Queensland has had the opportunity to experience daylight saving," Mr Schrinner said.

"A large percentage of the Queensland population has not had the opportunity either to experience it in person to have a trial, or most importantly to have a say on whether they like it or not."

A self-professed "long supporter of daylight savings", Mr Schrinner said the scheme would benefit both Queensland residents' ways of life and their wallets.

"It's just about having people out and about enjoying the city, the state, the economy, spending money in local businesses — there is a massive injection that can occur," he said.

'If Brisbane wants to be a separate state — join New South Wales'

Mr Schrinner said one study estimates Queensland misses out on up to $4 billion without daylight saving.

But Townsville Mayor, Jenny Hill, said north Queensland residents already knew where they stood on the matter.

"We don't need to extend the time by an extra hour to get time during summer. It happens for us naturally," she said.

"Queensland is a big state and once you get past the Tropic of Capricorn it's a little different for us here in the north. In summertime, we have sunsets that occur 50 minutes after they occur in Brisbane."

"If Brisbane wants to be a separate state because it wants daylight saving and wants everything else that people have in New South Wales — join New South Wales. Queensland is a different place," Ms Hill said.

State Opposition Leader David Crisafulli also disagreed with the Brisbane mayor, despite them both being members of the LNP, saying daylight saving could be too divisive.

"I'm sure he understands that I have different views because I have lived and worked in both sides of the state and I'm not going to do anything to divide this place," Mr Crisafulli said. 

While Mr Schrinner wanted all of Queensland to get on board with a trial, he suggested Queensland be split into two time zones.

"It's always better to do these things across the whole state. But there are other examples where there are different time zones in different locations."

Mr Schrinner said it would be easy for the state government to introduce legislation for a new daylight saving trial, based on the state's last trial 30 years ago.

"Here's one that's been prepared earlier," he said.

Mr Schrinner last called for daylight saving to be introduced in January this year, but the state government said it wasn't a priority.

Fears for farmers

Clarendon dairy farmer Errol Gerber says changing to daylight saving would disrupt his farm's milking process.

"Afternoon milkings are at 4pm and we try to do those 12-hours apart — it's an animal health or husbandry issue that we try to keep the times the same for the cows," he said.

"Staff-wise, I would have to have staff working in the hottest part of the day in the afternoon and animal welfare would also be affected by that."

Mr Gerber also said the introduction of daylight saving would have psychological impacts for farmers.

"It affects us physically and emotionally because we're under a lot of stress already because of deadlines and so forth, and this is actually just going to add to that.

"I think in the long-term, as we then have to work an hour earlier of a morning, but because the sun's up, we're generally going to be working an hour later of an afternoon, I can't expect my staff to do that and so therefore I'm going to have to fill gaps there."

Queensland's agriculture minister Mark Furner said there were no plans from the government to make any changes.

"There's no debate around the cabinet table about daylight saving," Mr Furner said.

Mr Schrinner said he would accept the outcome, if a new trial was to go ahead.

"If they don't want it after that, that's fine. I understand that, but I suspect they will," he said.

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