Victorian retailers hardest hit by new public holidays

19 AUGUST, 2015: The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is dismayed at the decision of the Victorian Government to go ahead with two new public holidays for the state, with many retailers expected to be forced close their doors, as a result of two extra days of penalty rates.

The introduction of public holidays on Grand Final Friday and Easter Sunday will increase Victoria’s public holidays to 13 a year – the most of any state.

“These two new public holidays come at a high cost to retail businesses, as it means increased wages as a result of high penalty rates if they are to open,” said Russell Zimmerman, Executive Director of the Australian Retailers Association.

“Many Victorian retailers have indicated to the ARA that they will have no choice but to close their doors on these two days,” he said.

“Wages can be 50 per cent higher on Easter Sunday and 150 per cent higher on Grand Final Eve. Retailers face the difficult choice between remaining open and paying incredibly high penalty rates, or closing and losing sales or production.”

Grand Final Friday and the iconic annual CBD parade has always been a key event for Melbourne CBD retailers, with increased visitors to the area driving sales. The confirmation of this day as a public holiday will lead to less consumers in the city area.

“Grand Final Friday will have the greatest impact on the profitability of CBD retailers, as workers will not be in the city before AFL Grand Final, diminishing what has traditionally been a peak business period in the Victorian events calendar,” said Zimmerman.

“There will be no wages transfer through higher penalty rates being paid or the traditional net benefit from tourism during AFL Friday as workers and businesses abandon Melbourne CBD to stay at home.”

The ARA is currently engaged in a review of the General Retail Industry Award 2010 (GRIA) with Fair Work, with the view to reducing costs for retailers who trade on Sundays and public holidays.

The ARA supports recommendations by the Productivity Commission in its workplace relations report earlier this month that penalty rates must be reduced to support retail growth and sustainability.


About the Australian Retailers Association:

Founded in 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) is the retail industry’s peak representative body representing Australia’s $265 billion sector, which employs more than 1.2 million people. The ARA works to ensure retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 5,000 independent and national retail members throughout Australia. For more information, visit or call 1300 368 041. 

For interview opportunities with ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman call the ARA Media team on 0439 612 556 or email



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