IT WILL be business as usual for Ballarat retailers on April 27 next year after the state government announced there would be no Anzac Day public holiday on that Monday.
This also means trading restrictions before 1pm on the Saturday – Anzac Day – although small businesses, cafes and restaurants are allowed to open. Visit Ballarat chief executive officer George Sossi said it was always going to be tough to equal this year’s takings because of the Anzac Day-Easter extended holiday, but the no public holiday policy would mean a hit for the town.
“Any reduction of a long weekend is a lost opportunity, but we’ll have to work a bit harder on what we have to offer,” Mr Sossi said.
But RSL president Alex Tascas supported the decision.
“I’m not sure why we should have another day as a holiday,” Ms Tascas said.
“If people want to commemorate Anzac Day, then go to the service.”
Commerce Ballarat chair Andrew Rowan said the loss of a public holiday was not overly important for business, as even if visitors brought in more revenue, penalty rates for staff would cancel it out.
“It doesn’t make up for the extra businesses that close on that day. It doesn’t make up for places that have to close. They will have to pay penalty rates. (The cost-benefit ratio) is debatable,” said Mr Rowan.
Small Business Minister Russell Northe was unapologetic for the decision, which has previously been made by both Coalition and Labor governments.
“The purpose of Anzac Day is to respect, commemorate and remember the brave soldiers who sacrificed so much for our freedoms,” he said.
“It is not about getting a day off and taking for granted the liberties our soldiers fought so bravely to protect.”
Mr Northe said Anzac Day trading restrictions would apply no matter on which day April 25 fell.
In 2009, Anzac Day fell on a Saturday and there was no public holiday, but the next year, when April 25 fell on a Sunday, Victorians got a Monday public holiday.