Member for Morwell Russell Northe has expressed his concern in relation to the economic impact the AFL Grand Final Parade public holiday will have upon many local businesses who are already feeling the pain of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Whilst I appreciate there will be varying opinions on the merits of this public holiday it is a particularly bitter blow for the small business community, many of whom who have contacted me and highlighted their dismay at the continuation of the public holiday given the circumstances we are now contending with.” Mr Northe said.
“I understand that many workers and employees will welcome the State Government’s decision to proceed with an AFL Grand Final Parade public holiday; however given the Grand Final is most likely to be held interstate it’s difficult to fathom the necessity to have a public holiday in Victoria” Mr Northe said.
“The business community has had to endure such a challenging time, and one would have thought the State Government would have reconsidered holding this public holiday knowing the current economic climate and the costs incurred by businesses” Mr Northe continued.
“If past history is anything to go by, very few small businesses in our community open their doors on this day because it’s simply not worth their while. However, whilst on the one hand they are not deriving any income for the day, on the other hand there are still costs and wages to pay. And it also means in many cases that casual staff miss out on shifts because businesses are closed” said Mr Northe.
“Whether one supports an AFL Grand Final Parade public holiday or not; I don’t think anyone could argue that 2020 has been unique and one of the most challenging in our history” Mr Northe added.
“Subsequently, I really do believe there are two factors as to why this decision needs to be reconsidered by the State Government at the very least for 2020. First, the public holiday will be held to celebrate an event that will be hosted in another State which does not seem logical. Second, given the current economic climate why would you wish to impose more of a financial burden on those same businesses that are already struggling and where every cent counts” Mr Northe concluded.