The Queensland Government’s idea to make Christmas Eve a partial public holiday has been labelled as “just a pre-election stunt” by the Executive Director of Australian Retailers Association, Russell Zimmerman.
The ARA have given full support to Ai Group’s view on the issue, as Mr Zimmerman has noted that any public holidays created before elections simply lift business costs for political self-interest.
“This might sound just fine on a superficial level to anyone who thinks they might make a quick buck, but if shops close because they can’t afford the impost, there won’t be anything extra to argue over,” he said.
Mr Zimmerman adds that using the reductions to Sunday penalty rates in some industries as a justification for the change only told the convenient half of the story.
“The Queensland government and unions want to run that message but fail to mention the fact penalties after 6pm on weeknights and Saturdays are actually increased, which diminishes their argument.”
Mr Zimmerman states that any business employing staff under the General Retail Industry Award would be affected.
One of the consequences includes having to shift “the traditional last-minute Christmas Eve shopping rush to December 23, as many businesses will simply close at 6pm.
“Then there’s what I might term the ‘convenience store effect’: businesses trading throughout Christmas that already pay penalties over a 48-hour period will have that impost extended by another six hours,” said Mr Zimmerman.
“Just because one government makes a poor policy decision doesn’t mean everyone should do it.”