As much of Australia prepares to move their clocks forward by one hour this weekend, WA continues to buck the trend and businesses will again spend the summer dealing with the problems caused by being three hours behind the Eastern States.
After a three-year trial, about 55 per cent of West Australians voted not to continue with daylight savings at a referendum in 2009 . More than 83 per cent of those eligible to vote had their say.
The “no” vote was strongest in the state’s farming regions, with more than 85 per cent of voters in the Wagin electorate rejecting the plan.
But former WA Liberal leader Matt Birney, who pushed for the trial, said the main argument for daylight saving was to encourage families to spend time outdoors after work.
Mr Birney said most Perth residents wanted daylight saving.
“It causes havoc for small-to-medium-sized businesses who on a daily basis place orders from eastern states,” he said.
“The business argument has always been run in favour of daylight saving, but it obviously didn’t produce the result.”
WA Farmers media and communications officer Melanie Dunn said the organisation had lobbied against daylight saving because it would force farmers to change their routines, causing animal welfare issues. There were also practical difficulties caused by having darker mornings.
“Much like humans, when a cow’s routine is changed, there is a period of adjustment needed before the cow can return to producing to the same standard as before,” she said.
Changes in routine could also affect the quality and quantity of milk produced from dairy cows, she said.
Mr Birney said he didn’t think WA would ever be ready for daylight saving unless regional residents changed their minds.
“We gave it our best shot. You can’t really say people didn’t experience it,” he said.
Ms Dunn said WA Farmers would base their response on feedback from their membership if the issue was raised again.