Holidays shake-up idea welcome

THE Sunshine Coast's top tourism official has welcomed a State Government proposal to rearrange Queensland's public holidays.

Premier Anna Bligh yesterday announced the government was seeking public support and suggestions on a plan to make the public holiday calendar "less top heavy".

The proposals include clustering several pupil free school days, which are currently held throughout the year, at the end of Easter to make it a full fortnight off school.

The Queen's Birthday holiday would also be moved from June to October.

Sunshine Coast Destinations CEO Steve Cooper commended the initiative and said he expected local retailers and restaurateurs would welcome the dispersion of both the tourist spend and holiday labour costs.

"In the first instance, everyone recognises that the old way of doing business is not always the best in these changing economic times," he said.

"An advantage is that cost will be spread throughout the year."

Christmas and Boxing Day holidays aside, eight of the state's public holidays presently fall in the first half of the year.

The exception in Brisbane is the Royal Queensland Show Day in August.

Ms Bligh said all holidays, except for the Queen's Birthday, celebrated on the first weekend in June, marked significant dates and were punctuated with official ceremonies or significance.

"Unlike other public holidays, it (the Queen's Birthday) is not celebrated on a date that is particularly meaningful," Ms Bligh said.

"It's not the Queen's actual birthday and it's not celebrated on the same day throughout Australia."

She said it made sense to move it to October given there was already school holidays in September and October.

Mr Cooper said the proposed October holiday would be a welcome stimulus on top of the traditional tourism periods of spring, school holidays and Christmas.

He said he welcomed the continued conversation with the government and local retailers and restaurateurs to see if the proposal was viable and if it would be a better outcome for all.

Tacking the pupil free days to the end of Easter would also put Queensland in sync with the rest of the nation and give teachers an extra day off.

"Pupil free days will become a thing of the past except for October which is needed for student moderation," Ms Bligh said.

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Ms Bligh said if she received an overwhelming response against the proposals it was highly unlikely she would implement them.

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