Business hits back at public holiday plans


OPPONENTS against two new public holidays say the proposal could hurt small businesses in Greater Dandenong.
Last Wednesday the State Government released an independent analysis that showed Easter Sunday and Grand Final Friday days off would deliver as much as $312 million in benefit to the Victorian economy, but would also cost the economy $405 million.
The proposal is now out for public comment for 28 days.
Dandenong Retail Traders Association (DRTA) chairwoman Glenys Cooper said her personal reaction was that Victorian already had sufficient public holidays.
“I’m not quite sure why we need to have more,” she said.
“It puts more strain on small business.
“Some businesses might decide that it’s not worth opening.”
Greater Dandenong councillor Peter Brown said the cost for the public holidays was too high and called on the council to prepare an urgent submission opposing the scheme.
“My personal view is that the Victorian economy cannot afford such a holiday and the economic impacts on Greater Dandenong businesses are unaffordable and unjustified,” he said.
“To close Victoria down on a Friday for a football procession for a match the following day is a waste.
“I am confident that council, representing as it does not just homeowners but employers, is the best vehicle to provide a co-ordinated response on behalf of our business ratepayers.”
Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) chief executive Mark Stone said additional wages for the retail, accommodation, food services and recreation industries could cost small business owners about $105 million for the two holidays, as wages could be 50 per cent higher on Easter Sunday and 150 per cent higher on Grand Final Friday.
“What Victoria needs is more jobs and this plan is only going to set that back,” he said.
Acting Small Business Minister Gavin Jennings said introducing the Easter Sunday holiday would ensure those who needed to work over the Easter weekend were paid fairly.
He said other benefits included tourism and hospitality boosts.
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