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Queensland Xmas Eve public holiday ‘a mistake’

Industry groups have voiced their concerns over the Queensland government’s plan to make Christmas Eve a part-public holiday.

Industry groups say the Queensland government’s plan to compensate Christmas Eve workers for lost penalty rates by making it a part-public holiday is a mistake.

The Palaszczuk government says the proposal would compensate workers for recently-reduced penalty rates and give them the right to have the evening off as a public holiday, just as they do for Christmas Day.
But the National Retail Association and The Australian Industry Group have taken aim at the plan, saying it will drive up costs and hurt struggling businesses.

“The retailers who will be hurt most by this are not large multi-nationals, but mum-and-dad small business owners who work ridiculous hours just to make ends meet,” NRA CEO Dominique Lamb said in a statement on Monday.

The proposal, which is set to be introduced this year following a consultation period, would push up wage bills and potentially lead to higher prices for shoppers, Ms Lamb said.

Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox urged the Queensland government to abandon the plan, saying it will make local businesses less competitive with interstate and overseas firms.

“The government’s reported argument that cafes will be able to recoup the cost by charging a public holiday surcharge, fails to recognise that most of the businesses that will be impacted are not cafes,” he said.

The current ad-hoc approach to declaring public holidays across Australia is undermining the national economy, he said.

Queensland will be the third Australian jurisdiction to implement this measure if the plan is adopted, with South Australia and the Northern Territory making similar changes in 2012 and 2016 respectively.

A five-month public consultation period will close on September 2.

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Loren Webb

Loren Webb

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