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Grand Final eve public holiday will hit businesses hard

Thousands of businesses are facing a huge bill to pay people not to come to work on Friday’s Grand Final eve public holiday, the Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said today.

Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Chief Executive Mark Stone AM said Victorian businesses cannot afford to pay for this public holiday, with many choosing to shut their doors to minimise their losses.

“Our position on this issue is unchanged. There is a huge financial cost involved with this public holiday and that bill is footed by businesses,” he said.

“Changing the date of this public holiday will make no difference to the businesses who have to pay for it.

“Businesses are in a situation where many will lose money regardless of whether they stay open or close. The extra cost of staying open is more than $8,000 and if they close they pay staff more than $18,000 not to come to work. 

“We acknowledge that the public holiday will continue for another year but will continue our advocacy on behalf of our members that this holiday should not become a permanent fixture in Victoria’s calendar.”

A previous Victorian Chamber survey of 500 businesses on the impact of the public holiday found:

·         83 per cent of businesses faced a bill of more than $18,000 to keep their staff away from work

·         74 per cent chose to close rather than trade

·         Three quarters of those trading operated at a loss due to penalty rates. 

In 2015, following the first Grand Final eve public holiday, a regulatory impact statement of the new public holidays prepared by PriceWaterhouseCoopers found an economic cost, or lost production, from the Grand Final eve public holiday was up to $852 million.

In this calendar year, Victoria will have 14 public holidays, matched only by the Australian Capital Territory. New South Wales and South Australia have 13, there are only 12 in Queensland and the Northern Territory, and 11 in Tasmania and Western Australia.

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For all other enquiries, please contact the Victorian Chamber on (03) 8662 5333.