Hip and shouldered, Shepparton News, Shepparton VIC

SMALL BUSINESSES BELIEVE AFL GRAND FINAL EVE PUBLIC HOLIDAY DROPS BALL Small businesses in the Goulburn Valley fear losing profits due to the introduction of the AFL Grand Final eve public holiday the Victorian Government passed yesterday. The Victorian Government also declared Easter Sunday a public holiday. Solar City Tyre Service director Kevin Saxton said he would close his business on the new public holiday. Mr Saxton will pay out $4800 on wages, but said he would get no production for that cost. He said Fridays were his busiest days of the week with interstate trucks dropping in for maintenance. Why not make it the Saturday? he asked. As a small business owner and manufacturer in Victoria, I cannot see how we can continually absorb the costs put on us by governments, always it seems in the employees favour. Mr Saxton said more public holidays would not help the growing issue of rising labour costs forcing manufacturers off shore. Mawsons Bakery and Cafe in Euroa and Nagambie will also close up shop on grand final eve because of the high labour costs associated with the holiday. Owner Gayle Mawson closed on Easter Sunday last year when it was declared a (one-off) public holiday. $50 an hour (pay per employee) is just ridiculous, she said. Ms Mawson said her businesses struggled the year before paying normal Sunday penalty rates on the Easter weekend. Euroas Alberts Cafe owner Tania Hodges said she never opened on public holidays due to the high penalty rates. She said AFL Grand Final weekend was a busy time with people stopping on their way to the Moto Grand Prix on Phillip Island. I find it absolutely ridiculous, she said. Nagambies Old Kitchen Cafe owner Harry Logus works seven days and does not employ staff due to the recent penalty rate hikes, but said he would open on grand final eve. Its a quiet day anyway, he said. Tahbilk Winery Wine Club and cellar door operations manager Bruce Minchinton took the introduction of the new holiday in his stride. We dont like increased costs, but unfortunately we have to accept it, he said. He said the business would remain open, as it does every day except Christmas Day. POLITICIANS SHARE AFL GRAND FINAL EVE PUBLIC HOLIDAY VIEWS There will be no trading restrictions imposed on either grand final Friday or Easter Sunday. Whether businesses open or close is entirely a matter for them and employees that are required to work will be paid fairly. The Grand Final Eve holiday provides a fantastic opportunity for Victorians to discover the beauty that is Northern Victoria including the Goulburn Valley. Im disappointed to see theyve done it. Id like to see them trial it and review it, seeing as they are determined to do it. Being a Friday a lot of businesses will stay open and have to pay the extra money. Ms Sheed said many Shepparton business owners and the chamber of commerce were quite vocal expressing their objection to the new holiday. We all love a day off but you can have 365 days off work if you dont have a job. Ms Lovell felt the extra penalty rates on the public holiday could push struggling businesses over the edge and put jobs at risk. Even if they close, they still have to pay rates.