The Andrews Government’s plan to introduce two new public holidays will cost the state’s economy around $1 billion every year, Member for Narracan, Gary Blackwood, said today.
Mr Blackwood said a Regulatory Impact Statement released today showed the huge cost of the new public holiday on Grand Final Eve.
“The economic cost is estimated at up to $898 million a year, plus increased wage payments of $286 million a year,” Mr Blackwood said.
“That’s on top of at least $640 million the government is wasting not to build the East West Link in Melbourne.
“Despite the $1 billion cost, Labor says it will introduce these holidays no matter what – making a mockery of the public feedback period which has just opened.
“This is a billion dollar blow to jobs and economic activity across the state.”
Mr Blackwood said the Grand Final eve public holiday would continue to put pressure on local small businesses, with many expected to simply close their doors.
“I’m concerned that local small business owners will be forced to close their doors on Grand Final eve, but of course they will derive no income and yet still have to pay permanent and part time staff for having the day off,” Mr Blackwood said.
"Many local businesses have approached my office to raise their concerns and have expressed that they would need to assess their options as to whether they open on the day or not.
“It’s also extremely concerning for casual staff many of whom are young people at school, as they will miss out on work completely.
“I have spoken with many business operators in our region who say this is a bad decision and without any regard for the small business sector.
“The government has boasted that the holidays could increase tourism expenditure in regional Victoria by $17-$51 million – surely they don’t seriously think that is an adequate trade-off for $1 billion.”