Small businesses in Victoria are again being forced to endure the damaging impact of closing for a made-up “Grand Final Eve” holiday this week. Victorians work hard to earn days off, but at a time when jobs are becoming even more difficult to find and when many local businesses are already doing it tough, the Andrews Government’s approach simply hurts local traders. When small business suffers, Victoria suffers.
It’s been a difficult winter for many of these traders and, even a year later, there is a real anger over this unnecessary public holiday. I’ve heard from several Geelong businesses opposed to it, using terms such as “absolute disaster”, “a waste of time”, and “a waste of money”. Some of them estimated losses of between $4000 and $10,000, and they predicted the majority of Geelong’s traders would be in the same boat. While larger companies can compare the holiday to opening on a Sunday, smaller businesses with less than 10 staff members are left having to close or pay high wages and superannuation with an entire day’s loss of sales.
This disaster has an economic cost to Victoria of up to $878 million, with $14 million estimated last year for Geelong alone. The Geelong Chamber of Commerce has revealed 70 per cent of its members were affected in 2015 and 85 per cent are opposed to the public holiday.
Businesses across the state have pleaded with Daniel Andrews to rethink his reckless decision to impose this extra public holiday, citing negative impacts on employers, workers and the greater good of Victoria. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the State Government has chosen to ignore what is in the best interests of the people it was elected to serve. Daniel Andrews needs to rethink this holiday and realise that nobody ever asked for it.