Public Holidays bill to cost Victoria more than $9 billion over the next decade 

| March 21, 2019

The Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry is disappointed with proposed legislation to make three new public holidays permanent.

Victorian Chamber Chief Executive Mark Stone AM said there is a huge financial cost involved with these holidays that will be borne by business and taxpayers.

“Victorian businesses cannot afford to pay for these public holidays. Many choose to shut their doors rather than trade at a loss.

“Businesses that open are hit by significant penalty rates, and the ones that close their doors face a huge bill to pay staff not to come to work,” Mr Stone said.

A 2015 PricewarterhouseCoopers report, commissioned by the Victorian Government, found that the cost to the Victorian economy from the Easter Sunday and Grand Final Friday holidays was up to $898 million per year.

This did not include the cost of an additional public holiday when Christmas day falls on a weekend, forcing business to pay penalty rates twice for the same holiday.      

“This legislation will cost the Victorian economy more than $9 billion over the next decade,” Mr Stone said.

In 2019, Victoria will have 13 full day public holidays, matched only by the Australian Capital Territory. Queensland has 12. New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory have 11, while Western Australia has only 10.

At a time when the cost of doing business in Victoria is rising, this legislation puts jobs at risk.