Wodonga Cup public holiday ‘worth a punt’

AUSTRALIAN Industry Group regional manager Tim Farrah doubts Wodonga and District Turf Club’s bid for a public holiday will generate the same level of angst within business circles as the creation of a half-day holiday in Albury in the late 1990s.

A survey will be circulated among Wodonga businesses today about swapping the Melbourne Cup public holiday for one on the day of the Wodonga Cup which would bring the city into line with other Victorian regional centres.

The Albury Gold Cup meeting has had the benefit of a half-day holiday since 1998, but its introduction divided Albury Council at the time.

Mr Farrah said some Albury employers remained opposed to the half-day and their feedback was forwarded to Council before it agreed to the holiday staying in place this year.

“Their thoughts haven’t changed,” he said.

“They still see it as counter-productive.

“But the situation in Wodonga is completely different as they are just transferring an already gazetted public holiday.

“It is not adding any cost burden to businesses.

“Some of the angst the Albury business community had was some businesses felt they were paying for other businesses to benefit.

“It was a robbing Peter to pay Paul scenario.”

Mr Farrah said Albury workers were benefiting from an additional public holiday.

“Being a half-day holiday you tend to lose a whole day in most industrial sectors be it manufacturing or construction,” he said.

“By the time you get up and running and then have to shutdown, productivity for the day is very small; it is very much a full-day holiday.”

Wodonga and District Turf Club is hoping a public holiday for its cup meeting would have the same impact as it has in Albury.

Cup day attendances have risen with the retail, tourism and hospitality sectors among the major beneficiaries.

“I think it is pretty progressive thinking,” Mr Farrah said.

“They are hopefully going to get an added benefit to the community because it will be a much bigger day than what Melbourne Cup Day is.”

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