Horse bolts on Moe Cup public holiday bid

Moe Racing Club’s bid for a half day public holiday for the township and surrounds on Moe Cup Day this year failed to gain Latrobe City Council support.

The MRC had written to council, asking it to submit a request to the State Government to alter the Melbourne Cup Day holiday for the postcode of 3825, replacing it with a half day holiday and a half day on Thursday, 16 October.

However, councillors refused the request at Monday’s council meeting, citing insufficient time for fresh community consultation.

MRC chief executive David McKinnon said the lack of holiday would “undoubtedly” impact numbers.

“The family unit that generally would have come won’t be able to. People won’t take a day off work to come to the cup,” Mr McKinnon said.

“It’s disappointing. We’ve always enjoyed a half day when the Moe Cup has been held, with the exception of when the law was different.”

From 1998 to 2008 council declared either half or full day public holidays for the Moe Cup, until state legislation changed to allow councils to only swap Melbourne Cup for full day holidays municipality-wide.

The legislation has since reverted to a more flexible form, but council’s Public Holiday Policy has not.

Councillor Sandy Kam said during the most recent community consultation in 2009 many businesses were in favour of Melbourne Cup holiday.

Cr Kam suggested if the club wanted to pursue this request again next year, they should discuss it with traders across Latrobe City.

Councillor Dale Harriman added council would continue to support Melbourne Cup as the holiday while it remained the majority of the community’s preferred date.