Grand final eve public holiday

16 September 2015

Ms RYAN (Euroa) — Tonight I raise an issue for the attention of the Premier. I call on the Premier to immediately reverse his half-baked plan for a public holiday for the grand final parade. This holiday is not necessary, it is costly and it is damaging small businesses in northern Victoria. It is also costly to thousands of casual workers who will lose money when their workplaces close. The fact that government ministers in question time today told businesses in my electorate that they should like this holiday demonstrated breathtaking arrogance. The Benalla Racing Club has done its very best to turn a sow's ear into a silk purse by rescheduling the Benalla Gold Cup to be held on this day. I note that Labor MPs have used the cup time and again as an example of the great benefits a new public holiday will have to regional Victoria. It seems that, across Victoria, the cup is the only example Labor members can point to as being a positive outcome. I congratulate Paul Hoysted, Greg McNulty and the rest of the club on their determination to ensure that this dud public holiday has some benefit to Benalla, but even that will not negate the terrible cost this will be for the local economy.

I refer to the 23 staff at the Gum Nuts Resort Childcare Centre. They have been dealing with angry parents, who are trying to find other options for their children, because the early learning centre cannot afford to stay open on the Premier's parade day public holiday. Alan Bower runs Thrifty Link Hardware in Broadford and Seymour. He will open only in the morning. He says his only alternative is to increase prices by 250 per cent. Alan plans to put a sign in his window to let people know that he will be closed in the afternoon because of the actions of the state Labor Party. In Heathcote Wayne McKay owns the local newsagency. He has to trade because his contract as a newspaper distributor says he must. He does less trade on a public holiday, which he describes as a double hit — a reduction in takings and an increase in staff wages. Dan O'Dwyer from Mustad Lowdens Saddleworld in Kilmore employs about 30 staff, including 5 to 10 casual workers. Friday is generally one of Mustad's busiest trading days, but the public holiday is forcing Dan to reduce his opening hours. He estimates Labor's holiday will cost Mustad several thousand dollars because it will be open for fewer hours and will have to pay higher labour costs.

A number of Shepparton businesses have also contacted me, expressing their concern about this idea. I want to tell the Premier about Carolyn Young from Pinch of Salt. Carolyn does not understand how the Premier expects her to come up with the extra money needed to cover wages. She has three staff. She will be paying them about $300 each, which means she will be nearly $1000 out of pocket. That is money she cannot recoup by opening the business on that day. Businesses in Shepparton did not ask for this public holiday, but they will have to pay for it. The town's casual workers did not ask for this public holiday, but they too are paying for it. I urge the Premier to accept the strong feedback I have received from businesses across my electorate and in Shepparton by immediately reversing this decision.

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