Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk
Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk Brenda Strong

Labour Day change to 'hurt' regional events

REGIONAL events already earmarked for the Labour Day long weekend in May 2013 will be most affected by the holiday shift to October, Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

Ms Palaszczuk told Queensland Parliament on Tuesday the decision hurt regional and rural communities which built up community and regional events around the historical date.

She said the Hervey Bay Triathlon, the Maleny Wood Expo and the Ten Days in the Towers Music Festival at Charters Towers were among the events which would be immediately affected by the LNP Government's decision to change Labour Day from 2013 onwards.

"There is no legitimate or compelling reason to make these changes," she said.

"It removes the history of decent, everyday men and women who have gone before us, who spent their lives fighting for a better society that we enjoy today."

The government says the move ensures a more even split of public holidays through the year and restores the Queen's Birthday public holiday to its original date on the second Monday in June.

Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie told parliament his government believed moving Labour Day had increased advantages for industry and community, generating cost reductions and efficiencies for business.

Mr Bleijie said the move would result in additional respite and rest for workers in the second half of the year while reinstating the Queen's Birthday holiday would help the tourism industry in a traditionally quiet time.

"The workers of Queensland will still have a public holiday; they will still have Labour Day," he said.

"They will still celebrate Labour Day. They're just going to celebrate it on a different day of the year."

Ms Palaszczuk said the decision was another "attack" on Queenslander workers on a day they had commemorated in May since 1891 and declared a public holiday in Queensland Parliament in 1901.

She argued Labour Day represented the eight-hour day, the right to negotiate as a group, the minimum wage and the basic notion that men and women deserved a fair day's pay for a fair day's work.

Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller said Labour Day would continue in Ipswich in May, to remember the sacrifices that gave us the "living conditions" we have today.

"They were fought hard for by generations of Queenslanders and workers throughout the world," she said.

"Labour Day is an important day to recognise these achievements and the struggles workers face in the present and also in the future.

"This government hunts in packs like killer whales, plucking off public servants at will, and the workers rights right across the state.

"It's not just a public holiday ... it's a march, it's a reflection, it's a symbol of the sacrifices for the things that are most important to us."

Nicklin MP Peter Wellington said there was other more legislation that should be debated.

"This is simply an attempt by government to send a strong message that they have the power to do (so)," he said.

"I won't be supporting the bill."

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