Businesses say the extra public holiday this year is going to cost them a lot.
Businesses say the extra public holiday this year is going to cost them a lot. Craig Warhurst

Holidays hit business hard

AS MOST Gympie workers gear up for the long weekend, local business and civic leaders have warned of the multi-million dollar toll of this year's extra day off on struggling employers.

Monday's Labour Day holiday commemorates the granting of the eight-hour working day to Australians. This day off will be followed by another on June 11, to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, and then another on October 1 for the Queen's Birthday.

The changes follow a controversial review of Queensland's public holiday system and a decision to move the Queen's Birthday holiday and disperse the cluster of days off at the start of the year.

While no Aussie worker in his right mind is going to knock a long weekend, the reality is that many bosses are surviving on paper thin profit margins and see the additional holiday as a reckless burden on already fragile retail, business and manufacturing sectors.

J Smith and Sons managing director Kerren Smith employs 90 staff and says the extra holiday will cost him $120,000 in lost production plus $40,000 in direct overheads.

Mr Smith has worked in manufacturing for 37 years and says times have never been so tough. Across too many sectors, nobody has a good news story to tell, he said.

Until the Australian dollar is brought back below 90 cents, manufacturing would remain at extreme risk, and the "serious impost" of an extra public holiday simply added to the pressure.

CPM Engineering owner Jason McPherson called on Premier Campbell Newman to "take a big step towards supporting business".

"For my business alone, with 60 staff, I will need to do $366,000 worth of work at 5 per cent net profit just to cover this holiday," he said.

Member for Gympie David Gibson said that while everyone liked the idea of an extra public holiday the reality was that times were tough and ordinary Queenslanders will have to pay higher prices as costs are passed directly on.

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