THERE will be no public holiday leading into next month’s Newcastle Show with the state government on Thursday knocking the plan on the head.
Newcastle’s business groups responded with widespread applause at the decision they say will save them millions of dollars worth of unnecessary costs, but it was condemned by the city’s trade unions and lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes.
Newcastle council voted to apply for the show day holiday last year but the application was never sent because Liberal councillor Brad Luke lodged a rescission motion.
But Cr Nelmes made the application herself, indicating to the industrial relations minister that her request had majority support of the council.
Minister Andrew Constance rejected the application on Thursday, saying it was inconsistent with the ‘‘local event day’’ sought by Lake Macquarie council, and that he’d received more than 40 submissions from business groups which had strongly opposed the move.
Cr Nelmes said she was ‘‘extremely disappointed’’.
‘‘The minister is obviously not talking to Novocastrians when he says he only received submissions against a show holiday,’’ she said.
The council had sought public feedback on the show holiday last year, she said, with only 57 out of 384 submissions opposed to it.
Trade unions echoed the call.
‘‘The minister has robbed the local community of the opportunity to celebrate the spectacular Newcastle show day,’’ Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association secretary Barbara Nebart said.
Hunter Business Chamber, HunterNet, the property council and other Newcastle business groups welcomed the announcement, with chamber chief executive officer Kristen Keegan saying it was a ‘‘sensible decision’’.
“We commend the Treasurer’s decision to leave the way open for a local event day to be declared,’’ Ms Keegan said.
‘‘This is acknowledgement that the government understands the challenging environment in which business is operating and the significant impact a public holiday would have had on local business.’’
Liberal candidate for Newcastle Karen Howard said it was a ‘‘commonsense decision’’ given that it could have been a public holiday in Newcastle, a local event day in Lake Macquarie and a normal work and school day everywhere else.