OPINION: Five public holidays in eight weeks is too much

COMMENT BY SCOTT SAWYER: I CAN understand the Palaszczuk Government's commitment to have Labour Day restored to May.

It's a symbolic gesture of their righting of the horrific wrongs they claim to have been done by the previous government, or something like that.

Okay, I'll be honest - I can't remember and don't care why they're reshuffling the public holidays again - all I know is five public holidays in eight weeks seems a lot.

I'm not so certain our friends in hospitality, retail and tourism-driven business will be so ecstatic with the reversal.

The original Labour Day move to October by then Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, while painted as a swipe at workers' rights and a strike at the core of the Labor movement, was, I believe, an attempt to balance the public holiday layout, in a bid to ease some of the burden on businesses forced to pay their staff exorbitant public holiday penalty rates.

Sure, a shift of the Queen's Birthday might have been more palatable and ensured a smoother acceptance of the revamped public holiday calendar, but it still would've left a situation where we had five public holidays in six weeks.

If I owned a small business and was staring down the barrel of a six-week stretch with five public holidays, trying to balance the books and work out whether I could afford to pay the 275% public holiday wage rate for casuals, well, I think I'd probably opt to just close the doors. That's not exactly a great result, or advertisement for our region, is it?

The LNP Government has just been thrown out for being too prehistoric, backwards even, in its operation, yet the incoming government is dedicated to returning Labour Day to its spiritual home on the calendar - surely a move more symbolic than substantial?


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