Gippsland South Small business

Labor’s holiday plan to cost $1 billion

Gippsland business owners have expressed frustration at the Labor Government’s plan to introduce two new public holidays, which will cost the state’s economy around $1 billion every year.

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien said today that these additional holidays would hurt businesses in his electorate and make it more difficult for regional traders to stay afloat.

Mr O’Brien said a Regulatory Impact Statement released last week showed the huge cost of the two new public holidays on Easter Sunday and Grand Final Eve.

Mr O’Brien said the economic cost of these two additional holidays was estimated at up to $898 million a year, plus increased wage payments of $286 million a year.

“Workers love an extra holiday but there's no such thing as a free lunch - extra holidays cost our businesses money and creative a disincentive to employ people."

Mr O’Brien said he had been contacted by a number of business operators in the electorate who said they simply could not afford to open on public holidays due to increased staff wages.

“This is another disappointing example of a Melbourne Labor city centric government that does not understand business or our rural communities,” Mr O’Brien said.

“I hope we are not headed for "ghost towns" on these new public holidays that will impact on our tourist-focused culture.

“Despite the $1 billion cost, Labor says it will introduce these holidays no matter what – making a mockery of the public feedback period which has just opened.

“This is a billion dollar blow to jobs and economic activity across the state.”

Mr O’Brien said these changes would see many businesses in regional Victoria lose revenue, put up their prices or shut their doors altogether.

“The government has boasted that the holidays could increase tourism expenditure in regional Victoria by $17-$51 million – surely they don’t seriously think that is an adequate trade-off for $1 billion,” Mr O’Brien said.

“These are two extra public holidays that nobody asked for and they will continue to put pressure on local small business, which simply cannot afford this.”

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