Port city’s no-show day
Public holiday despite rural event’s demise
A TASMANIAN city will go into shutdown mode next week despite it no longer having the event for which a public holiday was granted.
Local government offices, schools and other businesses will be shut in Devonport and surrounding towns like Latrobe and Sheffield for the annual Devonport Show public holiday on November 29.
But the agricultural showcase has not run since 2017 and looks unlikely to be reborn with the showground sold to developers and an attempt last year to hold a smaller event at a different site shelved.
Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Michael Bailey said the upcoming shutdown in the wider Devonport region was another sign that the time for local show holidays was past in Tasmania.
Mr Bailey said it was time for a taskforce to be established to look at abolishing local public holidays and perhaps giving Tasmania as a whole another collective day off instead.
“We don’t want workers to lose holidays but the ad hoc collection of local public show day holidays can be frustrating for business,” Mr Bailey said.
The State Government announced in March it would review Tasmania’s public holidays but no date has yet been set for that review.
Earlier this year, the Devonport City Council conducted a survey of residents to see if, in the wake of the show’s demise, people wanted to move the annual day off to another date.
They were given five options: to change the date to the Thursday of Agfest, to choose another date between July and the end of September, for a show holiday to coincide with the Friday of the Devonport Jazz Festival or the Friday before AFL Grand Final day or to keep the status quo.
Almost half of the 525 respondents elected to retain the historical show day break.
The council has passed on the survey findings to the State Government without an opinion on the matter.
Minister for Building and Construction Elise Archer said the Government understood that regional events and associated holidays are important to many communities.
“Any decision on changes to regional public holidays will only be made in full consultation with the local community,” she said.