The Andrews Labor Government has announced it will keep the AFL parade public holiday for at least another two years, despite its huge cost to local businesses.
The Nationals Member for Morwell Russell Northe said many local businesses were forced to shut their doors, cut staff or operate at a loss on the first parade holiday last year.
Impacted small businesses across the state reported losses ranging between $1000 and $5000 as a direct result of the parade holiday.
“The penalty rates were too expensive for many local businesses last year, so they closed or cut staff shifts on the AFL parade day,” Mr Northe said.
“The new holiday is for a parade in Melbourne, not a local event, so there isn’t an increase in patronage to help to cover the extra wages costs. In fact, on my observation and feedback towns in the Morwell electorate were very quiet on this day.”
Mr Northe ran a survey to assess the business community’s views on the holiday and there was overwhelming opposition from those surveyed. “Of 105 respondents, 98 per cent were opposed to the holiday and the feedback more generally from the business community indicated strong opposition to the new public holidays instigated by the Andrews Government,” Mr Northe said.
“One of the biggest disappointments relayed to me was that this holiday was announced without any consultation with the small business sector and the consultation that eventually took place was after the holiday had been determined.”
Mr Northe said the Andrews Labor Government should be creating new jobs in rural and regional Victoria, but instead it was making life harder for regional businesses and causing casual workers to lose their shifts.
“Why should rural and regional businesses suffer for a parade 150 kilometres away in Melbourne?” Mr Northe said.
“This is yet another city-centric decision by the Andrews Labor Government.”
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