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Australia Ends Daylight Saving Time in March/April 2009

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Published 10-Mar-2009

Western Australia will kick-start the end of Australia’s 2008–2009 daylight saving schedule on Sunday, March 29, 2009, which is the same time that many European countries begin their schedule. The Australian Capital Territory (ACT), New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria will end daylight saving time on Sunday, April 5, 2009, which is when New Zealand finishes its schedule. The clocks will move back from 3am (or 03:00) to 2am (or 02:00) in the states’ and territory's local time.

Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia recently received media attention due to speculation on possible changes, or a push for change, regarding daylight saving time in these states in the future.

Two surfers at sunrise

Many Australians will experience less sunlight in the afternoons in areas affected by the daylight saving end date in Australia.

©iStockphoto.com/Dean Turner

Western Australia’s Referendum Date Approaches

Daylight saving time in Western Australia comes to an end at 3am (03:00) AWDT, where the clocks move back by one hour to 2am (or 02:00) AWST, on March 29, 2009. After this, Western Australians will vote on the future of the state’s daylight saving time on May 16, 2009. This trial has attracted much media attention and controversy in the lead up to the referendum. The state’s Premier Colin Barnett recently commented that he had yet to make up his mind on how he would vote at the referendum (cited in Australia’s ABC News online, March 9, 2009).

Many of Western Australia’s businesses are lobbying for people to vote “yes” to daylight saving time, which has support from the state’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry. However, many beachside cafes in Perth experienced a downturn in breakfast and coffee trade due to the dark mornings, which saw fewer customers, during the daylight saving schedule.

Many farmers in rural Western Australia reject daylight saving time for various reasons, including fear of increased sun exposure while working. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Australia, according to the Australian Government’s Department of Health and Ageing. The risk of skin cancer increases with the amount of exposure to the sun, even if sunscreen is used, according to the Cancer Council ACT.

Queensland’s Battle for Daylight Saving Time

Many Queenslanders will consider daylight saving time as an issue to consider when they decide who to vote for at the next state election on March 21, 2009. The Labor Party, currently in government, will not reintroduce daylight saving time in the near future, if re-elected. However, a new party that promotes reintroducing daylight saving time in south-east Queensland may influence how some people will vote at the election.

The Liberal-National Party, which recently scored highly in polls as the major opposing party against the Labor Party, experienced internal conflicts regarding daylight saving time. The party expelled one of its members in early March 2009 after he decided to run against an endorsed candidate over the issue of daylight saving time. Shannon Crane, who supports daylight saving time, is now running as an independent in the Gold Coast seat of Mermaid Beach.

South Australia’s Extended Daylight Saving Schedule

South Australia extended its 2008–2009 daylight saving arrangement to match its eastern counterparts in starting and ending the schedule at the same time. The extended period is a trial resulting from consultations between the South Australian government and the community.

South Australia’s Industrial Relations Minister Paul Caica said in late 2008 that SafeWork SA (South Australia's new Occupational Health and Safety agency) would ensure the community was well informed of the changes and would seek feedback on the trial’s success. Mr Caica said that the government would gather community feedback to decide on the future of the extended daylight saving period.

Time Zones

Mainland Australia has three time zones:

  • Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), which is equal to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) plus 10 hours ahead (UTC+10). AEST applies to: New South Wales except Yancowinna County, which includes the city of Broken Hill; Victoria; Queensland; Tasmania; and the Australian Capital Territory. During daylight saving time, AEST becomes Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT) and clocks are advanced to UTC+11. Not all states (eg. Queensland) in eastern Australia observe daylight saving time.
  • Australian Central Standard Time (ACST), which is UTC+9:30, and applies to: South Australia; the Northern Territory; and Yancowinna County, which includes the city of Broken Hill, in New South Wales. During daylight saving time, ACST becomes Australian Central Daylight Time (ACDT), and clocks are advanced to UTC +10:30. The Northern Territory does not observe daylight saving time.
  • Australian Western Standard Time (AWST), which is UTC+8, and applies to Western Australia. During daylight saving time, AWST becomes Australian Western Daylight Time (AWDT), and clocks are advanced to UTC +9.

Many South Australian businesses have pushed for the state to follow AEST in the non-daylight saving period and AEDT during daylight saving time so they could be in more line with business operating hours in Australia’s eastern regions. However, no changes have occurred as yet.

Daylight Saving Across Australia

Daylight Saving Time is observed in the following Australian states:

  • Australian Capital Territory – first Sunday of October until the first Sunday of April.
  • New South Wales – first Sunday of October until the first Sunday of April.
  • South Australia – first Sunday of October until the first Sunday of April (2008–2009 only).
  • Tasmania – first Sunday of October until the first Sunday of April.
  • Victoria – first Sunday of October until the first Sunday of April.
  • Western Australia – last Sunday of October until the last Sunday of March. The trial began on December 3 in 2006 and ends in 2009.

Across the south-eastern states and the ACT, daylight saving time begins at 2am (or 02:00) AEST, where the clocks move forward by one hour, on the first Sunday of October and ends at 3am (or 03:00) AEDT, where the clocks move back by one hour to 2am (or 02:00) AEST, on the first Sunday in April.

For Western Australia, daylight saving time ends at 3am (03:00) AWDT, where the clocks move back by one hour to 2am (or 02:00) AWST, on the last Sunday in March 2009. Queensland and the Northern Territory do not observe daylight saving.

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