Extra public holidays proposed for Queensland
Queensland businesses are facing the prospect of adjusting their operations around additional public holidays under proposals now under consideration by the Bligh Government.
As part of a review of the state’s holiday system, Premier Anna Bligh yesterday (Sunday) released a discussion paper, Getting the balance right: A proposal on holidays in Queensland, that recommends allocating an extra public holiday when Christmas, Boxing, or New Year’s days fall on a weekend.
The government is now seeking feedback on the move to introduce the extra public holiday, in addition to plans to shift the Queen’s Birthday to create a new Summer Public Holiday and to expand the state school Easter holidays from six days to two weeks.
In the planned shake up of the public holidays and school holidays system, Premier Bligh said the government needed to consider what best suits families, the community and businesses, as well as what happens in other states.
“Holidays observe important public occasions like Anzac Day and Australia Day but they also give workers and families a chance to rest and have fun together. They let us all balance our work and family life better,” the Premier said.
“Our lives are becoming busier and busier and that’s why I feel it is important that we get the maximum benefit from the public holidays that we do have.”
Joining the Premier, Education and Industrial Relations Minister Cameron Dick said the discussion paper had been released to determine stakeholder and community support for proposed changes.
Mr Dick conceded that proposed public holiday changes could have broader implications for business and the economy – even if the arrangements were restricted to the Christmas-New Year period.
“The State Government wants feedback on whether the law should be changed to ensure these specific public holidays are recognised on both the actual date when they fall on a weekend, as well as an additional day the following week,” he said.
“The major reason for considering an additional public holiday is so that those who work rostered hours, including weekends, have access to the same number of public holidays and penalty rates as workers on a standard Monday-to-Friday week.
The proposal to move the Queen’s birthday public holiday to later in the year, possibly October, stemmed from concerns that most public holidays were currently clustered in the first half of the year, particularly in the period between March and June.
There are currently no statewide public holidays in the six months between the Queen’s Birthday public holiday in June and Christmas Day in December, and Queensland is the only State that has no public holiday in the second half of the year.
The discussion paper’s third proposal, to extend the Easter state school holiday to two weeks from 2012, would involve shifting three student-free days and adding one extra day to the Easter holiday period.
Premier Bligh said the discussion paper was seeking feedback from all interested parties about their views on the suggested changes.
The business community, parents, students, teachers and the general public are being asked to voice their opinion via an online survey at www.qld.gov.au/holidayproposal until Monday, 31 October 2011.