Daylight saving debate sparked in Queensland as southern states wind back clocks

It’s that time of year again.

Daylight saving has come for Aussies living in the southern states – NSW, SA, Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT — but one rogue state which chose to be excluded from the practice is living in regret.

Daylight savings time (DST), which was originally introduced in Australia in 1916 during World War I to save fuel, is set to kick in on Sunday, October 1, at 2am.

Residents impacted by the change will wind back their clocks, netting them an extra hour of sunlight in the evenings as Australia heads into the summer.

Queensland is one of few states and territories that has opted out of daylight saving.

Residents in the state used to wind their clock backs like their southern counterparts but abolished the system in the 1970s and despite multiple pushes to bring it back, it has never happened.

A recent study found that an eye-watering two thirds of Queenslanders wanted daylight saving reintroduced.

For those living down in Brisbane and surrounds, they are often flooded with light very early in the morning (if they don’t have blackout curtains) but by the time they finish the work day, it’s already starting to get dark, prompting many resident to call to join daylight saving time.

Once upon a time, Queensland was part of the daylight saving family but ditched the system in 1972.

It had a brief experimental return between 1989 and 1992 but ultimately decided that it wasn’t for them. As time passed, many Queenslanders are regretting the decision.

Ongoing research and surveys have so far always found that the majority of those in Queensland — although heavily concentrated around the south of the state where it has the largest population — want a return to the DST ways.

A recent survey in the Brisbane Times showed that 66 per cent of residents in Queensland support having daylight savings again.

Even Western Australia, a fellow daylight saving-free state, showed support at 64 per cent.

The debate remains a hot topic, despite Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk continuously rejecting the idea.

When asked whether the state should consider a split time zone, the Labor premier rejected it.

“I believe in one Queensland, not a divided Queensland,” she said, as reported by The Courier Mail.

In 2021, research from the University of Queensland found a whopping 60 per cent of Queenslanders wanted the time measure to be brought back.

Little has changed since then.

According to Dr Thomas Sigler, the lead author of the study, the state loses $4 billion every year due to not having daylight savings.

“The issue boils down to the fact, there are two or three benefits for daylight savings, and those diminish the further you get from the NSW border,” he previously told news.com.au.

For Queenslanders who live within the southeast corner of the state, which is 75 per cent of the state’s population, the choice to re-join DST is obvious.

“The sun only starts setting after 6pm in Brisbane, around late October. Assuming you get home around 6pm (because of a 9-5 work schedule), that means you only have four months of the year when you see the sun after work,” Dr Sigler said.

“Life starts at 4.30am in southeast Queensland, but we don’t change our hours. Unless you have really big blackout curtains, the sun’s peaking through before 5am.”

But for those closer to the equator, in the state’s Far North, daylight saving makes no sense.

In the past, it has been suggested to split the state into two different time zones, but this has been duly rejected by various politicians.

And while there’s no referendum on the topic planned anytime soon, this hasn’t stopped many Aussies to complain about it on social media.

“This is literally me I spend the whole week saying how shocked I am even [though] it happens twice a year,” one person commented on the TikTok above.

“Bro daylight savings messed up a funeral [cause] I’m [from] [Queensland],” another wrote.

— With Alex Turner-Cohen

Read related topics:Brisbane

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