Time to roll up the Show Day holidays

Michael Bailey headshot

Michael Bailey, CEO Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

As quickly as you can consume a dagwood dog and spill sauce down your fresh white shirt, the events synonymous with the culinary offering are going out of style.

The major city shows are on struggle street – the departure of the Devonport Show from the calendar this year due to financial challenges and the disappointing attendance numbers at Launceston perhaps suggest the shows in their current format are not viable any more.

The overarching issue here is that the community is just not attending the shows like it used to.

Agfest has taken the place of much of the connection to farming and easy, and historically cheap, access to theme parks on the mainland and international has probably put a dent in the wonder of sideshow alley – once the ‘Disneyland’ dream for many a child who had saved up their coins all year to attend.

Some of the regional weekend shows are booming – if the city shows were to reduce the days they operate and readjust their thinking so that we can remove the legislated mid-week “Show Day” holidays, we might actually create a win-win for everyone.

In my opinion, it is time to abolish the local Show holidays once and for all.

Before you start to panic at the audacity of suggesting we all lose a much-needed day off, there is a solution to ensure public holidays aren’t diminished.

I believe we should make the Northern Tasmanian Recreation Day and Southern Tasmania’s Regatta Day statewide days off – no one misses out on a public holiday and we consolidate the regional holidays for the shows into statewide days.

I have been talking for years about the frustration for business about the local show holidays. How they impact business, are confusing from an industrial relations perspective and slow the state economy.

For example, the number one question hitting the TCCI’s industrial relations telephone help line across this time in Tasmania is how local holidays apply.

Many people query what the boundaries are of the holiday region. For example does Deloraine get the Launceston Show Day or Devonport Show Day as a public holiday

Another common query is what the pay rate for a local holiday is and does it apply in all awards?

And we all know that business in Tasmania has a slower day if there is a regional holiday occurring somewhere in the state. This is even worse during the bizarre half of Tasmania Recreation and Regatta Days.

A restructure is overdue and in time I think everyone will reap the rewards.

By Michael Bailey, CEO Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

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