Lake council to hear call for show day holiday

LABOR councillors will call for Lake Macquarie residents to be given a public holiday on Newcastle Show Day.

Lake Macquarie City Council staff have recommended that the day be declared a ‘‘local event day’’, instead of a public holiday.

ALP Cr Daniel Wallace said he would move at a meeting tonight for a public holiday on show day.   He said many workers lost their picnic day in award negotiations and show day had historically replaced that. The public holiday worked well from 2006 to 2011. He said show day brought the community together and showed ‘‘life is not all about work’’.

Cr Wallace said people had been lobbying independent Cr Barry Johnston, a former unionist and ALP member, to support a public holiday.

Cr Johnston’s vote, combined with those of six Labor councillors, would allow an application to the state government for the public holiday to be approved. The government rejected the council’s application for a public holiday last year.

Cr Johnston alleged Cr Wallace could have a conflict of interest in the matter because of his employment with a union.

‘‘He’s a union organiser, getting paid by a union and the unions are running this campaign,’’ he said.

Cr Johnston backed a Newcastle City Council move to approach the education minister and schools to declare an excursion day, so children could attend the show.

A public holiday on show day would be an impost for business.

‘‘Things are already tough for small business,’’ he said.

Newcastle Agriculture, Horticulture and Industrial Association asked Lake Macquarie council to apply to the minister for Industrial Relations  for a public holiday.

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