On 12 May I was pleased to visit the electorate of the member for Eildon to meet with small business operators. The small business operators I met with said that the Premier's decision to introduce two more public holidays — on Easter Sunday and AFL Grand Final eve — will cost them and other regional small businesses dearly. One business owner said the cost impact of the Easter Sunday public holiday on one of the busiest weekends of the year in Mansfield would leave him no better off than a normal weekend due to extra labour costs. He saw no likely extra trade for the grand final eve holiday, but is now facing a larger wages bill on the day.
Other Mansfield businesses voiced concerns that an additional $50 000 would have to be found for these two extra holidays The feeling was that the grand final eve holiday would not bring any additional business to town, as people were more likely to stay where they were to watch the grand final. There was also uncertainty surrounding what businesses would or would not be open on the day, creating confusion for customers and potential visitors. Many businesses expressed their thanks that in the complete absence of any consultation from the Labor government the member for Eildon had listened and brought their plight to attention.