Queensland’s new public holiday revealed

 

THE night before Christmas will soon become a public holiday in Queensland.

It has been revealed the Palaszczuk Government is planning to change the law to make Christmas Eve a public holiday as soon as the clock strikes 6pm.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the move would save Christmas for workers by ensuring they either get to spend more time with loved ones over the festive season or that they are properly compensated if they have to work.

"The night before Christmas is as important to families as the day itself," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"It would ensure workers have the right to have Christmas Eve off as a public holiday just as they do for Christmas Day.

"Making it a public holiday would give those who have to work like essential services staff, hospitality workers and shop employee's better pay for doing so.

"While the government can't restore the weekend penalty rate cuts inflicted upon some 160,000 Queenslanders by the then Turnbull/Morrison Government we can at least do the right thing for people working on Christmas Eve."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the new holiday is about giving people more time with their family during the festive period, or compensating them properly if they have to work. Picture: AAP/Darren England
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the new holiday is about giving people more time with their family during the festive period, or compensating them properly if they have to work. Picture: AAP/Darren England

A retail award based worker would be better off by $124 dollars for the night and a fast food award based worker would be better off by $157 for the night, according to the Government.

The move has already been adopted in South Australia and the Northern Territory where Christmas Eve is a public holiday from 7pm.

Both SA and the NT have also made New Year's Eve a public holiday from 7pm.

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace said the change would be open for consultation for the next month.

"Several industries and services may be affected by a part-day Christmas Eve public holiday, and we encourage everyone to have their say on this proposed change," Ms Grace said.

Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace says interest groups will be consulted over the new public holiday next month. Picture: AAP/Dan Peled
Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace says interest groups will be consulted over the new public holiday next month. Picture: AAP/Dan Peled

The State intends to legislate the change in time for Christmas Eve this year, following consultation.

"A 2013 review of the arrangements in South Australia found there was strong opinion that Christmas Eve held a special status in the community in-line with it being recognised as a public holiday.

"And that there was considerable community support for the improved protections and wages for workers that come with a public holiday."