Wodonga could have a Melbourne Cup public holiday again under a plan put forward by the chief of the city's business support body.
Business Wodonga chief executive Graham Jenkin said the AFL grand final public holiday was the day-off no one in regional Victoria wanted irrespective of the grand final being played interstate for the second year in a row due to COVID-19.
Under his plan, regional councils could decide when they gazetted the football public holiday rather than being locked into the Friday before the grand final.
"It's the holiday regional Victorians don't want," Mr Jenkin said.
"It would be better served if local councils were able to nominate other days that better reflected their local community.
"In Wodonga's case it might well be we choose Melbourne Cup day because there is a percentage of the community that still wants Melbourne Cup rather than Wodonga Cup.
"This would make everyone happy because you would still have the same number of holidays.
GRAND FINAL COVERAGE
The Wodonga holiday was created in lieu of the Melbourne Cup holiday which had strong support in the education sector.
Albury Council is presently seeking feedback on its Gold Cup half-day holiday.
Mr Jenkin rejected suggestion potential Melbourne and Wodonga cup holidays were too close together.
"We have that already with Easter and Anzac Day and at Christmas we have Australia Day a month after Boxing Day," he said.
The AFL grand final holiday has been hugely unpopular in regional areas since its introduction in 2015 by the Victorian Labor government.
"It's heartbreaking that for the second year running Victoria has a grand final public holiday with no grand final to celebrate," Shadow Minister for Regional Cities and member for Benambra Bill Tilley said.
"Instead of pressing ahead with a public holiday no one can enjoy and that only leaves small businesses paying more, the state government should've used rapid testing and other measures to keep this event in Victoria."
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