By Mitch Guy
THE controversial Grand Final Eve Public Holiday is set to hit local businesses hard this Friday October 2.
Some businesses, such as Connell’s Bakery, have decided to shut their doors for the day to avoid paying penalty rates.
The business operates two stores at Wonthaggi and Bass and is also a local wholesaler.
Owner Dee Connell estimated the loss of income combined with the payment of full time and permanent part-time wages would be approximately $9,500 for the day.
“You run on a budget of how much you’ve got to pay and how much to cover your costs and that particular day won’t be any busier than a normal day so the money’s not there to pay the extra,” she said.
“It’s going to cost us an extra $3000-$4000 in wages if we opened. If we had have opened we would’ve run at a loss.”
Ms Connell is not against paying penalty rates, but she is heavily opposed to the Grand Final Eve Public Holiday and the amount of public holidays with penalty rates.
“Things like Christmas and Easter and days to spend with your family are important and they should be, but this one’s just not justifiable,” she said.
“The amount of penalties that are around now is incredible.
“For a business owner, I used to employ all my staff as permanent part time or full time, now anyone that comes on board is casual because there are so many days where we have to close and it’s costing too much money.
Running at a loss
At Phillip Island, Cowes IGA owners Phil and Konney Behre cannot believe the new public holiday was passed.
The family business will open from 7am-9pm on Friday and will pay penalty rates to its staff.
Although Phillip Island is renowned as a tourist destination, Konney believes the public holiday won’t mean there will be a lot more people in town on the Friday.
“We’ll be looking at it as an ordinary Friday because Fridays do tend to be busier in the afternoons when people are arriving.
“I don’t see it as being a different Friday at all but the wages bill is going to be two and a half times what it normally is,” she said.
“The day will be a loss but we can’t close because we’re always open and we can’t afford to lose the trading for that day either.”
Husband Phil said the penalty rates for Victoria’s public holidays were ‘extreme’.
“For the amount of traffic we get through the shop on that day it’s ridiculous, Melbourne Cup day is the same thing,” he said.
“We’ll run at a loss for sure; we know is the grocery side will run at a substantial loss because it’s a heavier staff user than liquor.
“The liquor will use two people but we’ll be busy all day whereas the grocery side won’t be but we’ll need to have three people.”
He agreed that Cowes IGA would employ more permanent part-timers if penalty rates were dropped.
“I can understand Christmas Day, I can understand all the normal ones like ANZAC Day, but I can’t understand Boxing Day and I don’t understand New Year’s Day – the penalty rates for those days.
“This has annoyed everybody within the industry; people over at Western Australia are laughing at us. You can’t understand why there’s a public holiday for a football match.”
Business groups slam GF holiday
THE Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry is one group calling for the state government to repeal its Grand Final Eve public holiday.
VECCI estimates the cost to pay Victoria’s almost 2 million full-time employees for the day off could reach $543 million.
VECCI said coupled with the 50 per cent higher wages on the new Easter Sunday holiday, the estimated cost to small business owners in additional wages is $105 million for the two holidays.
With the Grand Final Eve public holiday, Victoria has 13 public holidays; New South Wales 11, Queensland and Western Australia 10.