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Queensland extra Christmas holiday costly and without merit

In a submission to the Queensland Government, Ai Group has argued that a proposed Christmas Eve part-day public holiday is costly and without merit and should be abandoned.

"A further unnecessary holiday in Queensland would add to the disjointed and uncoordinated way in which State Governments are blithely declaring new public holidays and it undermines the sense that we have a national economy," Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said.

"Taking from business to pay for politically popular measures is both costly and unfair and amounts to robbing Peter to pay Paul. This has never been a sensible approach to public policy.

"As part of its investigation, the Queensland Government has released a Consultation Regulatory Impact Statement canvassing three options regarding a part-day public holiday on Christmas Eve. The Government's preferred option is developing legislation to make Christmas Eve a part-day public holiday from 6pm to midnight under the Holidays Act 1983 (Qld).

"This proposed additional public holiday would impose unwarranted additional costs on businesses in numerous industries that need to operate on Christmas Eve.

"Ai Group has estimated the true cost of the holiday to business could be more than triple the estimate presented in the draft Regulatory Impact Statement. This implies a total cost range in the order of $123.9 million to $410.7 million in employment costs alone, not including the cost to businesses that choose to close instead.

"The Government’s reported argument that cafes will be able recoup the cost by charging customers a public holiday surcharge, fails to recognise that most of the businesses that will be impacted are not cafes and most impacted businesses will be unable to recoup the cost through a surcharge.

"Many businesses in the manufacturing, health, transport, aviation, emergency services, energy, IT, maintenance services, telecommunications, accommodation services and numerous other industries need to operate on a 24 hour / 7 day a week basis due to the nature of their operations.

"Also, many cafes and restaurants are struggling with cost pressures and the imposition of an unnecessary additional holiday tax on their customers is not in anyone’s interests.

"This idea is reportedly being championed by the SDA, a union representing members who are largely in the retail and fast food industries.

"We urge the Queensland Government to put the well-being of the state’s economy ahead of ill-considered proposals from narrow vested interests," Mr Willox said.  

The full Ai Group submission is available at this link

Media enquiries: Tony Melville – 0419 190 347