According to Ai Group, the cost of the public holiday to the Victorian economy is well in excess of $1.2 billion for a single day's holiday.
"This expense is beyond reasonable for a new public holiday and one that an economy with the highest unemployment rate in Australia cannot afford," the Victorian Head of Ai Group, Tim Piper said today.
"The most sensible decision by the Government would be to remove the public holiday from 2018 and enable business to take back its important Friday trading day," he said.
Mr Piper said that there was another alternative, which although not as palatable to industry, could remove considerable costs.
"We suggest, if the Government is insistent on retaining the holiday, that it could be moved to the Monday after the grand final, rather than the Friday before."
This would bring the holiday into line with other state holidays in New South Wales, Queensland, ACT and South Australia and remove considerable costs for national companies which are currently having to pay public holiday rates for staff to be available on the public holiday Friday.
"Members have told us it's an unnecessary expense. At the very least we should be attempting to harmonise with other states to remove some of the burden on companies," Mr Piper said.
Mr Piper called on the Government to recognise the additional costs which have been imposed on business and to make sensible changes in order to help the Victorian economy remain competitive.
Further comment: Tim Piper – 0411 430 301