Latrobe Valley businesses vehemently oppose the upcoming grand final parade public holiday, according to Member for Morwell Russell Northe.
Mr Northe conducted a survey with local businesses about the 2 October public holiday and said feedback to date was negative.
“So far 96.9 per cent of respondents say they do not support the grand final parade public holiday,” he said.
“There is a lot of anger.”
Mr Northe said many businesses felt forced to close on the day, but said even if they did they would be out of pocket.
“They still have to pay their permanent staff. It’s a real hit to the bottom line for small businesses,” he said.
“If they stay open they potentially lose money as they are forced to pay penalty rates, but if they close a lot of casual workers will lose their income, especially young people who work Friday nights.”
Mr Northe said grand final eve was typically a busy trading day as people prepared for the weekend, but said this year would paint a different picture with the government’s claim the grand final holiday would attract tourism not the case in regional areas.
“Local businesses are extremely angry that Daniel Andrews has completely ignored the impact of his extra holiday on our local businesses,” Mr Northe said.
“I’m not sure the Latrobe Valley will benefit from tourism on the public holiday. If people come (to the Valley on the Friday) many of our businesses will be closed.”
Sandra Pizzi from Manny’s Market in Traralgon said the business would have no choice but to close on the holiday.
“The penalty rates are so high, we simply can’t afford to open,” Ms Pizzi said.
Small Business Minister Philip Dalidakis said the State Government was delivering on its election promise and it was up to individual business owners to decide whether or not they remained open on the holiday.
“Victorians work hard and deserve these public holidays,” Mr Dalidakis said.
“There are no trading restrictions imposed on Grand Final Friday. Businesses may choose to open or not, but that is a matter entirely for them.”
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V/Line services will run with an altered timetable on the 2 October public holiday.
According to V/Line’s website, trains will run to a Saturday timetable on the Friday while coaches will run to a different timetable.
There will be additional seats and some extra services for customers travelling to and from the AFL Grand Final parade.
The 1.36pm and 2.56pm trains from Southern Cross to Traralgon will include a special stop at Richmond to pick up passengers at 1.44pm and 3.04pm.
To check times visit www.vline.com.au, phone 1800 800 007 or speak to a V/Line staff member.