Industry groups join together to slam sneaky Christmas Eve part-day public holiday

Friday 6 September, 2019 | By: Ella Schalch

Several prominent Queensland industry organisations have joined together to slam the Queensland Government’s sneaky move to legislate a business knee-capping part-day public holiday from 6pm on Christmas Eve.


The National Retail Association (NRA), the Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland (CCIQ), the Queensland Hotels Association (QHA), the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) and the Shopping Centre Council of Australia (SCCA) have today warned the Palaszczuk Government of the impact this move will have on Queensland’s struggling small business community.


The proposal to make Christmas Eve a part-day public holiday blindsided the business community and was announced following zero stakeholder consultation.


A Christmas Eve public holiday from 6pm onwards was last considered in the comprehensive review of Queensland trading hours conducted by former Labor State Minister Mr John Mickel. The review rejected the proposal, noting the financial impact on industry.


This proposal will result in one of the following outcomes, none of which are desirable to either business owners or the workers they employ: small business passing on the extra costs to consumers via higher prices; operators closing their doors for trade during the affected hours; or owners sending staff home and working the public holiday hours themselves with no extra pay.


Those who will be hurt most by this are not large multi-nationals, but mum-and-dad small businesses who work ridiculous hours just to make ends meet. Many of these outlets also rely on the Christmas trade period to support their operation during more lean times of the year.


This proposed public holiday is blindly following the mistakes made in other states and will kill off one of Queensland’s best times to celebrate with their community. No business can suddenly afford to increase costs at this time, so hotels and tourism operators will either close or reduce staff hours.”

 

Massive decline in trade due to public holidays have already happened for the AFL Grand Final Parade in Melbourne and Christmas Eve in South Australia. It is inconceivable that Labor would ignore the pleas of regional Queenslanders by increasing the price of going to the hotel, or having this vital part of their community shut.

 

Hours worked in the state economy are down 200,000 year to date and business confidence levels reflect both poor hiring intentions as well as business investment. The Christmas Eve proposal also runs counter to the voice of regional Queensland businesses who are telling us they simply cannot afford the government’s $137 million policy.

 

Queensland currently ranks sixth behind Tasmania for employment and overall economic activity and measures such as this will not help turn that worrying fact around. We strongly urge the State Government to reconsider this move and the detrimental costs it will have on Queensland businesses.

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