Adelaide’s Rundle Mall almost empty on Christmas Eve.
Adelaide’s Rundle Mall almost empty on Christmas Eve.

‘Ghost town’ warning over new public holiday

ADELAIDE has become a ghost town after 7pm on Christmas Eve thanks to the decision to make the night a public holiday, hoteliers say.

As the Palaszczuk Government begins consultation on plans to make the night before Christmas a public holiday in Queensland, the Australian Hotels Association, South Australia, general manager Ian Horne has warned the change has meant less choice for consumers and less hours for workers in SA.

"It has meant that a significant amount of hotels and cafes and restaurants simply don't open because of the cost,' Mr Horne said.

"The general feeling here was that you could open and trade, but because the wage component is such a high part of the hospitality cost then you are really working for nothing.

"The end result is that Christmas Eve … is largely a ghost town."

Adelaide’s Rundle Mall almost empty on Christmas Eve.
Adelaide’s Rundle Mall almost empty on Christmas Eve.

His Queensland counterpart, Queensland Hotels Association CEO Bernie Hogan said he believed pubs, clubs and restaurants would follow suit and close should Labor adopt the policy here.

"I think it's poorly conceived at the present time because it really has ignored the fact that hospitality or pubs, particularly in regional areas, are going to be unfairly disadvantaged here," Mr Hogan said.

"They won't trade past 6pm because they simply can't afford to pay people in areas where there are not suddenly going to be extra people walking through the doors at 6pm."

The change could be in place in time for this Christmas.

The QHA is hoping the Palaszczuk Government will delay the move "at least" to allow more consultation.

 

Queensland Hotels Association CEO Bernie Hogan.
Queensland Hotels Association CEO Bernie Hogan.

 

 

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace.
Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace.

 

 

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said she encouraged the QHA to make a submission which would be considered before a final decision was made.

"If the government decides to create the part day public holiday, then business owners, like hoteliers, would be able to charge a surcharge to cover any increased costs they may incur as a result of having to pay penalty rates for their staff.

"I am aware that many small business owners already pay their staff a little extra to compensate them for working at this special time."

SDA Queensland state secretary Chris Gazenbeek - who successfully lobbied the Government to consider the change - said research conducted in SA following the implementation of the public holiday had shown the cost to government and industry was not as great as initially predicted.

He said research also showed there were greater productivity gains as a result of the move there.



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