Queensland is having its fifth public holiday in six weeks today. At a time when businesses across the state are trying to deliver sustainable economic recovery models post the end of the resources boom, it’s hard to see that yet another Monday off work is a helpful contributor.
A late Easter always makes this time of year challenging as it inevitably runs into close proximity to Anzac Day, but business breathed sigh of relief a few years ago when the Queensland government moved Labour Day back to October to reduce the chances of the triple whammy productivity blow.
Unfortunately the relief was short lived as the incoming Palaszczuk government quickly reinstate Labour Day in May, sending the state straight back into dealing with the same issue it had just gone some way to resolving.
The impact of any public holiday is both immediate and quantifiable. Businesses either have to choose between opening as usual and hoping that the days activity can go some of the way towards covering the penalty rate impact on wages for the day, or closing the doors and taking the full impact of the lost days revenue. For healthcare businesses like ours there are also patient care considerations, as appointments and services have to be managed with potentially 20% fewer treatment windows.
While the potential benefit of the rest and recharge that a long weekend brings can’t be denied, it’s hard to see that we need so many in such close succession.
If Queensland has a genuine desire to move forward as an economic powerhouse, creating sustainable jobs for the people who live here, government needs to get real about understanding what business actually needs – and five public holidays in six weeks isn’t making any positive contribution.
So how have we chosen to ‘celebrate’ Labour Day? By flying to Sydney, which is open for business, and continuing to deliver on the opportunities which are creating jobs and economic sustainability for our business and those it employs.