Parliament Gippsland South The Nationals Small business

Labor keeps expensive AFL parade holiday

Despite businesses in Gippsland South reporting losses of up to $17,000 as a result of Melbourne Labor’s AFL grand final public holiday last, Daniel Andrews this week announced the holiday would continue for another two years.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien said many local businesses were forced to shut their doors, cut staff or operate at a loss on the first parade holiday last year.

“Ninety four per cent of business owners and managers that completed a survey I issued after last year’s holiday were against the holiday, with many reporting losses and wage bills totaling thousands of dollars,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The penalty rates were too expensive for many local businesses, so they closed or cut staff shifts on the AFL parade day.

“In addition to this holiday being costly for business owners, many casual employees also lost out and had to forfeit the day’s wages.”

Mr O’Brien said he received survey responses last year opposing the holiday from a range of businesses including vets, sports stores, nurseries, mechanics, bakeries, clothing stores, newsagents, hairdressers and transport companies, which demonstrated that the holiday had a negative effect on the majority of Gippsland businesses.

“Daniel Andrews’ day off 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 local businesses operators told me that their towns were very quiet.

“The Andrews Labor Government should be creating new jobs in rural and regional Victoria, but instead it’s making life harder for regional businesses and causing casual workers to lose their shifts.”

Mr O’Brien this week caught up with owner of Thornton’s Bakery, Darren McInnes who said Melbourne Labor’s grand final parade had a devastating effect on the Leongatha community.

“Businesses in small country towns are already struggling with high operating and wage costs and Daniel Andrew’s holiday will really hurt me and many others,” Mr McInnes said.

Mr O’Brien said business owners and staff could take part in his online survey to show the Andrews Labor Government the huge cost of the AFL parade holiday on the local economy.

“This is yet another city-centric decision by the Andrews Labor Government.”

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