As we approach ANZAC Day, it is timely to mention the topic of public holidays.
With the State Government maintaining its pre-election commitment to introduce a public holiday on the Friday before the AFL Grand Final and to re-introduce Easter Sunday as a public holiday, Victoria will have 13 public holidays each year, the most of any state in Australia. This has significant implications for productivity and comes at a high cost to businesses, which pay dearly whether or not they choose to open.
On ‘Grand Final Friday’, the cost to pay many of Victoria’s almost two 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. They face the difficult choice between remaining open and paying incredibly high penalty rates, or closing and losing sales or production.
VTIC does not support the additional public holidays and has expressed this view to Government. Other commentators have also expressed concerns, specifically about the impact of the proposed Grand Final Friday public holiday on the AFL Grand Final Parade.
VTIC urges the Government to carefully consider impacts on business, especially small business, when making future decisions in respect of public holidays.