Port city’s no-show day

Pub­lic hol­i­day de­spite ru­ral event’s demise

Mercury (Hobart) - - NEWS - HE­LEN KEMPTON

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.

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