Sunday, November 6, 2016
From Australia to Cyprus: “Living in two time zones…”
Tel: 99 966518
Our friend Costa Constanti shares a piece of news from Australia that concerns all of us: Different time zones in the same country!
He says: "Note to Cypriots who will wake with absurd time-zone differences this Sunday. Just for the record, New South Wales and Queensland are MASSIVE states of gigantic Australia. It makes sense to have different time zones as they literally cover HUGE swathes of the planet's surface. There are other border-towns in Australia that have 15 and 30 minute differences from their neighbouring state towns. That's what an enormous country has to deal with. As for Cyprus, it is a pathetic joke that we cannot coordinate the same time zone in such a microcosm."
But it is very interesting reading, what he shares from News.com.au – Australian news, entitled "Living in two time zones…"
I want to share this today to reflect the absurdity of living in two different time zones in Cyprus… The news that Costa Constanti shares is dated from October 2015 – but it makes "sense" in the "nonsense" situation we find ourselves in… Here is the article for you to reflect on:
"IMAGINE never knowing what time it is. Will you make it to the shops or post office before they close, have you missed your doctor's appointment, and will you get to the kids in time for school pick-up?
This is the frustrating reality for those that live between two time zones in the twin towns of Coolangatta in Queensland and Tweed Heads in NSW.
The first Sunday of October, when daylight saving puts NSW an hour ahead, is a nightmare for those living and working on the border of the two states.
You pretty much need to have two clocks — one for each time zone — around at all times.
Casey Barnes says Kingscliff, just south of Tweed Heads, is a "beautiful place to live, but as soon as daylight saving hits, our life becomes a nightmare".
PARALLEL TIME ZONES
Sure, there are benefits. There are twice the New Year's Eve celebrations in the twin towns — first in Tweed Heads in NSW, and again across the road in Queensland's Coolangatta.
But locals tell news.com.au the quirky situation is mostly a struggle.
"I never know what time it is and just wing it mostly," Vanessa Vardi, who lives in NSW but works in Queensland, said.
"Midweek evening outings are pretty much impossible — I don't get home until 7.30pm (in NSW) and most activities are done and dusted by 8pm. If I had small children, I would resent the lack of time available to spend with them before they went to bed.
"My partner used to spend so much time alone ... kinda waiting for me to get home, which put additional strain on our relationship."
Small business owner Reenie Henderson, who used to live in Tweed but moved to Queensland's Palm Beach in 2006, said dealing with two time zones was "chaos".
"I don't wear a watch because it just adds to the confusion," she said. "And if you ask someone the time, you have to ask, 'Is that Queensland or is that NSW time?' And if you're really lucky you'll get someone who just arrived from Perth and they're like, 'I have no idea what time it is'.
"I might want to have coffee with a friend who lives on the other side, whose kid goes to school on the other side, and it can take 10 minutes to work out the plans."
Musician Casey Barnes recently moved his young family from the Gold Coast to Kingscliff, just south of Tweed Heads.
"It's a beautiful place to live, but as soon as daylight saving hits, our life becomes a nightmare," he said.
"My wife works in Burleigh (in Queensland) so she's crossing that time zone twice a day going to work and returning home.
"Some people say it's only an hour but it does have a huge impact. You forget it's the little things, like convenience stores, the doctor's appointments, getting to the post office, and forgetting that you don't have that extra time to get there before it closes.
"And 'Do you mean Queensland time or NSW time?' is always a daily conversation."
Barnes said being a professional musician made things extra challenging. The Australian Idol alum has to co-ordinate a busy schedule of gigs, promos and interviews across two time zones — not to mention ensuring he shows up to each one on time.
He said late-night gigs across the border in Brisbane and the Gold Coast also made things tricky with his two kids, aged seven and two.
"I'll finish (a gig in Queensland) at midnight (NSW time), it's already 1am by the time I'm off the stage, and by the time you pack up, get in the car and drive half an hour home, you're talking three-and-a-half hours before you're getting to bed," Barnes said.
"And then you have to readjust to NSW time to get the kids ready and get off to work in the morning.
"It doesn't make a difference to me, whether we have daylight saving or not. Whichever way it goes, I just think it's ridiculous that we have such a large population around the border — a few hundred thousand people — and it doesn't make sense that we're not all on the same time zone."
'WE DO HAVE SOME LITTLE QUIRKS'
Coolangatta's Beach House Seaside Resort manager Gail O'Neill says daylight saving sends her staff roster into a meltdown. Of her 60 staff, who are a mix of casuals, part-timers and permanent staff, about half live in NSW.
"We've got people who have kids in school, and one lady who works on our front desk ... and we change her hours to suit the school times and the pick-ups and drop-offs for her boys," Ms O'Neill, who is also president of the Southern Gold Coast Chamber of Commerce, said.
"In the business world it's also that you have a lot of contacts in Sydney and Melbourne (Victoria also observes daylight saving time) and I guess they get used to it, but they don't like it."
And if it's bad for the locals, imagine what it's like for the tourists.
"It's really funny and it sounds weird, but we have a lot of people who think that Coolangatta is in NSW — and I'm talking about people who live on the Gold Coast as well," Ms O'Neill said.
"So when guests arrive from the airport and want to get into their rooms, they're already an hour ahead and we're saying, 'Sorry, we're not on daylight saving time'. They're not thinking of those things, they're on holiday mode.
"We sell a lot of tours here into northern NSW from Coolangatta so you have to make sure the people you're selling the tours to get the pick-up time right. It can be very confusing."
Gold Coast Airport is in a particularly unique situation: it runs on Queensland time but its runway crosses the state border.
Spokeswoman Karen Harrigan said the airport was used to dealing with the different time zones and coped very well, but added: "We do have some little quirks that make us different from other airports.
"When staff and passengers are in the terminal building their phones change time zones — when they are in the southern end of the terminal their phones change to NSW time and when they are in the northern end of the terminal to Queensland time," she said.
Andrew Aschman, of Brisbane, said: "My flatmate is a truck driver and does bulk deliveries from the Port of Brisbane to Ballina on occasions.
"He mentions that delivery deadline times can be difficult to meet, because of the hour change."
Other businesses in the Coolangatta-Tweed region have tried to make the parallel time zone situation easier.
Surfside Buses, a major bus operation in the area, keeps a Queensland timetable, even for NSW services. Meanwhile Twin Towns Services Club, a popular venue right on the NSW side of the border, moves its event times 30 minutes forward during daylight saving time to meet its Queensland and NSW customers halfway.
But sometimes good planning fails. Queenslanders have long complained about their smartphones switching back and forth from local to NSW time, as recently as this weekend.
"If I walk down the street my phone will change to NSW time because I'm so close to the border," Ms O'Neill said.
"I also know of people who have two clocks in their homes — I think if you live in one state and work in the other, you have to.
"A lot of people who live in northern NSW or in Queensland may have doctor's appointments in either state, because the hospitals here service a lot of people in northern NSW as well, and people are forever getting their doctor's appointments mixed up.
"The upside is that if you've forgot something at the supermarket (in NSW) you can duck across to a supermarket on the other side, but then it might not work the other way. I think the cons outweigh the pros."
THE GREAT DEBATE
Debate has raged for many years over whether or not Queensland should adopt daylight saving time in line with NSW, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and the ACT.
Previous Queensland governments have ruled it out, including the government of current Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who said this year that Queenslanders didn't want daylight saving.
Ahead of Queensland's recent state election, it was the one issue on which both major parties agreed.
The Queensland Greens earlier this year called for a two-year trial and a state referendum on the issue (the most recent referendum was held in Queensland in 1992). Meanwhile Tweed National MP Geoff Provest's solution is to end daylight saving a month early in NSW.
Arguments for and against daylight saving are many and varied: those against say it's unnecessary and would negatively impact farmers; those in favour say it would better align Queensland's businesses with operations in the southern states.
Some say daylight saving time in Queensland should be relegated to the state's southeast, especially in the tourism belt triangulated by the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Noosa. Others say only a state-wide approach would work.
Queenslander Nick Lloyd said the possible benefits of daylight saving in Queensland included convenience, safety for people who travelled home at night, and better interstate business operations.
He also said given the rate at which rooftop solar was being taken up in Queensland, the state could easily take full advantage of daylight saving to help alleviate peak demand on the electricity grid during the longer days, saving the government $650 million a year in regional peak subsidies.
And that's coupled with the estimated $4.35 billion a year that the Queensland economy is believed to be losing by being an hour behind the rest of the eastern seaboard.
"The fact that we (Queensland and NSW) have a north/south time difference and not an east/west time line working through Queensland's more sparsely populated inland regions tells you some Queensland politicians are not properly addressing the issue that just won't go away until it's properly dealt with," he said.
"It has been almost 24 years since the last Queensland referendum, but attitudes and demographics have changed and a lot of people around 40 years of age have never had a say on daylight saving in Queensland."…"
Photo: Casey Barnes keeps an eye on time - both times…
(*) Article published in the POLITIS newspaper on the 6th of November 2016, Sunday.