Victoria’s public holiday for the Grand Final tomorrow is a “slap in the face” for Victorian employers attempting to deal with the economic hardship created by the pandemic and the State’s glacial path to reopening.
Tim Piper, the Victorian Head of the national employer association Ai Group, said: “The grand final holiday, cynically rebadged as a ‘thank you’ holiday, was and still is the most frivolous and unnecessary holiday that could be imagined. It’s celebrating a football match being played almost 2000 kms away! Part of the rationale for the holiday was to give Melburnians an opportunity to holiday in the regions which today looks as far away as ever.
“There will be few people thanking the government. Business owners will not be thanking the Government for keeping them closed despite COVID cases being fewer than those in open NSW.
“The holiday is going to inconvenience everybody. Some shops, which have only just opened, will be closed. Cafes which can only offer coffees now won’t be able to afford to open. Industry that is trying to catch up will be forced to pay multiples of normal pay. The holiday is a debacle on top of a debacle at a time when we haven’t even removed the most significant COVID restrictions.
“Business doesn’t agree with the grand final holiday, but in the year when the final is being played elsewhere, there is no street parade and people are not allowed to move around the State, the sensible decision would have been to forgo the holiday altogether.
“Yet again, business loses Friday, the busiest day of the week, and those on the Victorian side of the Murray River are forced to compete with NSW businesses that don’t have this problem.
“The Government had the opportunity to show empathy to business and the community. Instead it has chosen to ignore industry and continue with a day that most Victorians accept is unnecessary,” Mr Piper said.