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Football holiday could block Bendigo business

A football blocks Wine Bank on View front of house staff member Bianca Bell from pouring a glass. Picture: PETER WEAVINGBENDIGO business leaders fear two new public holidays would place further pressure on small businesses across the city.
Nanjing Night Net

Labor promised to make the Friday before the AFL Grand Final a public holiday, along with Easter Sunday, as part of its pre-election pitch last year.

The regulatory impact statement of the holidays, compiled by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, showed the loss in economic production statewide could be between $717 million and $898 million.

Bendigo Traders’ Association president Steven Blundell said he struggled to see the sense in making Grand Final eve a public holiday.

“Any additional costs just make it that much harder for businesses,” he said.

“And for what? For the benefit of the AFL, for the benefit of Melbourne.

“I can go along with the Easter Sunday idea though.”

Once legislation to introduce the two public holidays is approved, Victorians could look forward to 13 public holidays per year–the most of any Australian state.

Among the costings, workers are estimated to receive between $252 million and $286 million, representing a transfer in funds from employers to employees, rather than a hit to the economy.

Wine Bank on View owner Mark Coffey said he could not find any positives.

“It’s not good for workers, because they will miss out on shifts when their boss decides not to open,” he said.

“It’s bad for us, because we will lose revenue that day.

“On a public holiday, people are going to want to go out and have a coffee. But there aren’t going to be many places open.”

Mr Coffey also operates 24seven Central in the Bendigo CBD, which would stay open throughout the public holidays.

He was likely to close Wine Bank early on Easter Sunday after the Easter Parade, and not open on Monday.

The city has received exemptions for trading during the Bendigo Easter Festival in the past.

Festival advisory board chair Rod Fyffe said he was unsure of how the Easter Sunday public holiday would impact the festival.

“We have applied for various exemptions in the past,” he said.

“Obviously Easter is a hugely busy time for Bendigo and a lot of businesses are going to be impacted by the public holiday.

“Once we know the legislation–and if there is the potential for exemptions–then we will be able to consider its impacts.”

The regulatory impact statement highlights a potential $51 million increase in tourism expenditure in regional Victoria.

In a statement, Acting Minister for Small Business Gavin Jennings said the plan would allow families to spend time together, while also highlighting two important dates in Victoria.

“The new holidays will deliver massive benefits across Victoria, boosting the state’s tourism and hospitality sectors and helping Victoriansspend more quality time with their families and friends,” he said.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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