Two NSW Central West MPs have renewed the call to cut the length of daylight savings, saying it leaves school children in regional areas tired, loses farmers money, causes road accidents, and contributes to mental health issues.
In a debate in NSW Parliament last Thursday, Member for Orange Phil Donato and Member for Dubbo Dugald Saunders said daylight savings drags on too long for those in the west, and backed a call from Tweed MP Geoff Provest to shorten it by four weeks to end no later than the first Sunday in March.
Mr Saunders said that while their coastal counterparts may enjoy the extra hours after work, those west of the range were "sweating out in the heat" during the last four weeks of daylight savings.
"On the face of it, for people who live on the coast it is a great opportunity to enjoy sport and recreation after work," Mr Saunders said.
"They can head to the beach, go for a stroll or have a picnic in the park. There is a sea breeze.
"Across the mountains It becomes hotter and less appealing.
"As we move further west, everything extends by an extra 30 minutes. People have less desire to be out and about. They do not get a sea breeze and they do not go for a stroll along the beach."
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The parliament debate heard it was only a decade or so ago that daylight savings was extended to April.
Prior to this, it had always finished in March.
Mr Donato said daylight savings had become a safety issue in regional and rural NSW
"Children get up in the dark and travel to school in the dark," he said.
"More accidents occur as a result not only because it is dark but also because wildlife is around in the early morning and there is more chance of hitting a kangaroo or other wildlife that stray onto the road."
Farm productivity was also impacted, he said.
"Farmers who may have hired shearers have issues because the shearers cannot start shearing until it is light enough to get into the sheds.
"Daylight saving impacts on schoolchildren, workers and production on farms."
Mr Saunders said mental health was being impacted too.
"Farmers, graziers and shearers feel the need to work as early as possible. If it is light until eight o'clock, they keep working till eight o'clock. There are effects on the family and there are mental health issues.
"Daylight savings creates mental health issues."
Despite the impassioned debate in parliament last week, Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party member Mr Donato is not optimistic he'll see change any time soon, given the support east of the divide for keeping daylight savings as is.
"The Liberal Party... and people in the city like daylight savings," he said.
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