April’s holidays both good and bad
AN UNPRECEDENTED run of public holidays over the next month will put a smile on workers’ faces, but deliver a $2 billion blow to business.
Some of our cities and tourism centres will resemble ghost towns as penalty rates make it unviable for thousands of cafes, restaurants and small shops to open their doors, frustrating locals and visitors.
The Easter long weekend, Anzac Day and Labour Day mean four consecutive fourday working weeks, starting next week.
It is the first time it has occurred since 2006 and a law change by the State Government making Easter Sunday a public holiday for the first time this year means six official days off over 18 days.
While it is a welcome break for employees, business groups say the economy will be left counting the cost, with small traders particularly bracing for a big hit to their bottom line.
Australian Industry Group state director Jemina Dunn said repeated closures were the last thing needed by many reeling from the economic impact of Cyclone Debbie and the flooding aftermath, or still cleaning up and repairing.
Its preliminary estimates put the accumulated economic cost of the six holidays at $2 billion in lost sales and production, delayed orders, wages and penalty rates.
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland general manager advocacy Kate Whittle said the new Easter Sunday holiday alone would deliver an economic hit of nearly $60 million.
Many operators simply could not face paying staff rates of double time and a half for such an extended period.
CCIQ estimates at least one in eight businesses that would normally open during Easter weekend will lock the doors for all four days this time.
Ryan Squires, owner of Brisbane’s Esquire restaurant, expects Brisbane to be quiet and plans to open only on the Saturday of Easter weekend.
With penalty rates for wait and kitchen staff between $70 and $110 an hour, he would look at limiting dinner numbers.
QUEENSLAND’S plethora of public holidays will deliver a day trippers’ delight, tourism leaders say.
“It’s obviously good business for us and provides an incentive for people to take a long weekend and go away,” Queensland Tourism Industry Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind said.
“But it’s also good for encouraging day trips, which are a surprisingly important contributor to the sector.
“It’s a big driver for destinations close to major population centres such as southeast Queensland.”