“Just a few years ago, before the Footy Friday holiday was declared, tomorrow would have been the day thousands of Melburnians took to the streets for the Footy Friday parade. It would be a bumper day for businesses and a day of celebration for Victorians taking a couple of hours off work to watch their champions pass by,” Tim Piper, Victorian Head of the national employer association Ai Group said today.
“Instead, this year, marches have been given a bad name and the unnecessary and costly holiday in Melbourne – for a Grand Final to be held more than 3,000kms away – is a sad reminder of an ill-conceived decision to add a public holiday in Victoria, which under normal circumstances, would cost Victorian businesses over $1.2 billion.
“And of course this year we can’t visit the regions – which was a major reason given for introducing the holiday.
“Last year, with Melbourne in the midst of a seemingly endless COVID lockdown, we called for logic to come into play and for the holiday to be cancelled because the match had been lost to Queensland.
“This year with the match going to the walled-off state of Western Australia, there is even less reason to have the holiday and even more reason to consign it to the dustbin of bad ideas.
"Businesses are under huge financial pressure in Melbourne due to being subjected to the world’s longest lockdown. The public holiday for the grand final – which will force the closure or add costs to businesses that are still operating – is an irrelevance.
"Next year the best thing we could do to mark the hopeful return of a Melbourne Grand Final would be a return to the traditional Friday as a working day celebration," Mr Piper said.
Tim Piper – 0411 430 301