The Government is favouring a shift to Eastern Standard Time following the consideration of two reports into the benefits or difficulties a potential change in time zone could cause.
Releasing two reports from the first round of community consultation, Premier Jay Weatherill said the wide-ranging submissions and comments had brought new elements into the debate.
“This has been a very worthwhile exercise with many arguments put forward for a change and many also against a change,” he said.
“Some myths about time zone shifts have been put to bed, while other issues have emerged for the first time as key considerations.”
The “What We Heard” report identified significant advantages in aligning with the major eastern states, including:
- Boost business opportunities through better communication with east coast suppliers, customers and branch offices
- Eliminate problems with computer systems when time-aware applications such as online diaries are used between users from the east coast and South Australia
- Tourists moving between the states would be able to make plans more easily without time changes
- The current delay in broadcasts of news and entertainment would no longer apply
- Increased benefit of having an additional 30 minutes of sunlight at the end of the day all year round, for outdoor activities, exercise, eating out and heading for the beach
- The half hour difference feeds a perception that South Australia is out of touch
A second report by The South Australian Centre for Economic Studies has estimated $2.5 billion in net economic benefits from a shift to EST.
Mr Weatherill said that after considering the reports, the Government was favouring a shift to Eastern Standard Time, however more work needed to be done.
“Minister Investment and Trade Martin Hamilton-Smith is going to undertake two more pieces of work before we are in a position to make a proper judgement,” he said.
“We need to look more closely at the potential effects a shift to EST would have on the operations of Adelaide airport and airlines.
“We also need to consider any potential measures we should consider which could minimise the impact of any change to the west coast community, including the option of a local, unofficial time.”
Mr Hamilton-Smith said aviation industry submissions raised concerns around the impact on some flights.
“One company said a late-departing flight could be impacted with an estimated loss of load factor of 20 per cent,” he said.
“Other airlines said their services would benefit from the changes.
“We are working to resolve these issues before proceeding with any change.
“The depth of feelings in west coast communities dominated the website submissions and letters while also bringing up the option of a local time zone that would overcome those concerns.
“For the remaining 95 per cent of the population that might be considering a shift to Eastern Standard Time, a few new issues have also cropped up.
“It is my intention to drill down further into these specific issues before coming back to Cabinet and the Parliament.”
To view the report or provide feedback: www.yoursay.sa.gov.au/timezone