The Victoria Tourism Industry Council (VTIC) is concerned about regional businesses being hit by the costs of the government’s new public holidays.
Half of the tourism industry is based in regional Victoria and the majority of these businesses are small businesses with significant cost pressure already.
On grand final Friday, the cost to pay Victoria’s almost 2 million full time employees not to come to work could reach $543 million for the day.
Additional wages for the retail, accommodation, food services and recreation industries are estimated to cost small business owners $105 million for the two holidays as wages can be 50 per cent higher on Easter Sunday and 150 per cent higher on grand final eve.
“Many businesses won’t be able to afford to operate on these public holidays due to increased wages costs and anticipated financial loss, which will be bad for tourism particularly in regional areas,” said VTIC Chief Executive Dianne Smith.
“We regularly meet with the relevant government ministers and reinforce that this decision is the wrong one and must be retracted.
“Ultimately these public holidays will take money away from the businesses that should be supported to increase employment and create jobs.”