It’s not only businesses that are suffering from the State Government’s ill-advised Christmas Eve public holiday, writes Bruce Hedditch.
It’s not only businesses that are suffering from the State Government’s ill-advised Christmas Eve public holiday, writes Bruce Hedditch.

Opinion: Public holiday hurts the people it should help

FOR the first time in the nine years I have owned the Larrikin Hotel in Bowen, we closed our doors on Christmas Eve.

This was due to the additional wage expense that came with the new part-day public holiday on Christmas Eve.

In years past, we have stayed open until our patrons left, enjoying the festive spirit among our small community.

Having to close on Christmas Eve 2019 meant our four employees lost out on additional hours, which was a shame for them because as casual workers they wanted the extra work.

Very little thought went into this legislation, and it has backfired.

Politicians didn't consider the impact it would have on businesses and towns like ours.

We are only a small pub, but it wasn't just us who closed.

Bruce Hedditch at the bar of his Larrikin Hotel in Bowen
Bruce Hedditch at the bar of his Larrikin Hotel in Bowen

The larger pub in town did too, as did the supermarkets in Bowen and Proserpine and Cannonvale, and when you live in a town like ours the last thing you want is less work for people.

In Bowen our unemployment is horrendously high, and as employers we want to support our staff.

But at this stage, we cannot support additional costs.

We have the high cost of insurance, especially in preparation of cyclones, increasing electricity costs, state government land tax and a sluggish local trade; for us, there is minimal margin to absorb any more.

Country retail is tough enough, support and understanding from the government are what we need, not them looking for easy votes to win.


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