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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 9 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 2608..


MR BARR (continuing):

At the same time as we undertook this consultation, we did undertake a consultation process and seek submissions from the public around an additional public holiday. With this in mind, I announced in August last year that we would undertake that consultation. I announced in August last year that we would undertake the consultation in April this year and that the government, following that consultation, was considering options around an additional public holiday. I made a formal announcement in July of this year that the government would go ahead with the establishment of Family and Community Day.

I intend using the Holidays Act 1958 and the provisions within that act to proclaim an additional public holiday. I will be doing that and will shortly declare the Family and Community Day holiday on Tuesday, 6 November as a public holiday to enable workers to take a break from their hectic working lives and to spend some quality time with their family and friends. As I have observed in previous times, Mr Speaker, Australians do work the longest hours of any country in the western world. We do deserve a break. This day, following the consultation period, was by far the most popular choice for an additional day. I believe in the order of three-quarters of all respondents indicated this as their preferred day. It was an extensive consultation process with all of the key stakeholder groups, including the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, for example, amongst others. Surveys were also undertaken as part of an overall consultation approach.

I am very pleased to be able to see not only the changes that will occur for Canberra Day but also the introduction of the new holiday as one that is appropriate for the ACT. It means that we will have the same number of public holidays as Tasmania and the Northern Territory. It is worth noting that it is not unusual for additional public holidays to be proclaimed from time to time. For example, the people of Sydney enjoyed a public holiday earlier this month in celebration of APEC: so it is not unusual for there to be additional—

Mr Mulcahy: It is just to keep them out of town.

MR BARR: It is not appropriate to have a public holiday to celebrate the family in our community—

Mr Mulcahy: Not on Melbourne Cup day.

MR SPEAKER: Order!

MR BARR: It is not appropriate to have that day, according to the opposition, but it is appropriate to shut down an entire city for a world leaders meeting. That is an interesting set of values there, Mr Speaker. We support both this legislation and the introduction of Family and Community Day. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Leave granted to dispense with the detail stage.


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