Holiday handball


Holiday handball

BUSINESS owners across the state were given the hard decision as to whether or not they would stay open during the Grand Final Eve public holiday last Friday.

Confusion reigned for the most part with the majority staying closed but a few retailers decided to open for either part of the day or the whole day with mixed results.

Implemented for the first time this year, the Victorian Government introduced the new holiday which put Victoria ahead of all other states with 13 annual holidays.

Nextra Leongatha Newsagency’s Dean Watchorn was the sole trader of the business which opened until 10am.

“There were a few people going through town but not that many,” Mr Watchorn said.

“I don’t know how we can afford it as a state; it is small businesses suffering again.”

Other business owners across the region expressed distress in covering the cost of penalty rates by staying open for the day.

Meeniyan’s Trulli Pizzeria and Inverloch’s Gusto Gelateria owner Rhiannon Nix agreed the penalty rates were difficult to cover and meant a loss to small businesses.

“To pay staff up to $42 an hour so everyone else can have the day off before an event which is deemed to be important to the entire country is purely ludicrous,” Ms Nix said.

“More often than not owners work double or triple as hard with the same profit to the business because of the outrageous public holiday rates.”

“It is my opinion, and that of all the small business owners I know, that the public holiday rates are completely crippling for small businesses,” Ms Nix said.

KB Carpet Court Leongatha owner Gaby Kavanagh said the Bair Street business remained open over the public holiday with little revenue to show for it.

“It was extremely quiet for us. Foot traffic in Leongatha was really slow and we were lucky to see a couple of customers in the morning,” Ms Kavanagh said.

“We are going to seriously reconsider opening again next year.”

“I was really surprised by the range of businesses that stayed open on Bair Street, it was real pot luck,” Ms Kavanagh said.

“Two cafes were open and the newsagent was open for a short period. Many people were travelling through and stopped in town to get lunch.”

Sweet Life manager Jodie Clarkson said the business made the most of the holiday weekend with tourists stopping by regularly.

“We put on minimal staff and the holiday worked in our favour. It was good for us because we had a lot of people stopping by to keep us really busy,” Ms Clarkson said.

“A lot of people were travelling through.”

Electric Art Tattooing Leongatha also stayed open with casual worker Ash Dickinson noting the boom in hospitality in contrast to specific retail stores.

“It was fairly quiet for us especially considering we thought it was going to be busy,” Mr Dickinson said.

“Most people come in on their days off however we had hardly anybody come in. We are usually open on all other public holidays but this was very quiet.”

Just up the road Great Southern Outdoors Leongatha struggled to cover the cost of paying three employees in penalty rates.

Store manager Graeme O’Connor said the local business could not sustain sales to cover wages.

“We probably had a loss in upwards of $1000 to cover paying the wages of three staff,” Mr O’Connor said.

“We did not really have a choice but to stay open and try to recoup our losses. It was such a stupid excuse for a public holiday.”

Wonthaggi’s Cactus Black stayed open amid a string of shops shut along the town’s central business district.

Store owner Maxine Bindley said she could not afford to pay employees the hefty penalty rates and therefore manned the shop alongside fellow owner.

“It has been surprisingly very busy today. We did not know what response we would get with the holiday,” Ms Bindley said.

“While we decided to stay open, only managers worked because otherwise we would not have been able to afford paying extra penalty rates.”

Other businesses chose to open with managers giving casual staff a day off to minimise penalty rates.

South Gippsland businesses are not the only ones to be hit hard with the public holiday.

Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry calculated a loss of up to $543 million across the state in penalty rates of up to 250 per cent while taxpayers will pay a combined estimate of $20 million to cover public sector employee’s wages for the holiday.

 Sweet success: Jodie Clarkson worked the public holiday at Leongatha’s Sweet Life Cafe with tourists driving through the town choosing to stop at the Bair Street business.

Sweet success: Jodie Clarkson worked the public holiday at Leongatha’s Sweet Life Cafe with tourists driving through the town choosing to stop at the Bair Street business.

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Posted by on Oct 6 2015. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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