At its May Meeting, Council resolved to observe Melbourne Cup Day as a public holiday for the next four years following community consultation. Thank you to everyone who shared their feedback.
In Victoria, Melbourne Cup Day is observed as a public holiday unless an alternate local holiday has been arranged by a non-metro council. In previous years, Council has requested part-shire arrangements as an alternative to Melbourne Cup Day, with the north of the Shire observing Ballarat Show Day in November and the south of the Shire observing Geelong Show Day in October. This was informed by community consultation undertaken in 2011 that the community wished to observe a relevant Show Day. The dividing line between the two public holiday areas follows Wingeel Road, Gumley-Mt Mercer Road and Meredith-Mt Mercer Road.
In 2020, both the Ballarat and Geelong Show Days were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic initiating a discussion around reverting the holiday for all parts of the Shire to Melbourne Cup Day. Golden Plains Shire still observed these days, due to insufficient time for community consultation and a Council resolution to change the dates. In recent years there has been a steady of decline in councils observing an alternate public holiday to Melbourne Cup Day, with only seven of Victoria’s 79 councils not marking the first Tuesday in November last year.
Together with last year’s cancellations, the majority of other regional councils are now observing Melbourne Cup Day, and as 10 years have passed since consultation was undertaken, Council considered whether change was required to its Spring Public Holiday arrangements.
Thank you to all community members and businesses who had their say on the future of Golden Plains Shire's Spring Public Holiday arrangement. Submissions were open from Wednesday 24 February, 2021 until Sunday 18 April, 2021, with members of the public able to make submissions online, by email or in writing.
During this process, Council received 95 valid submissions from community members, with 44 supporting Melbourne Cup Day, 40 supported the part-shire arrangement of marking Geelong and Ballarat Show Day, 10 were supportive of marking Geelong and Ballarat Cup Day, and there was one response that suggested an alternative day. Five of the submissions favouring Ballarat Show Day noted that their choice was due to wanting to align with City of Ballarat, who last month made the decision to observe Melbourne Cup Day as a public holiday, switching from marking Ballarat Show Day.
What Happens Next
At its May Meeting, Council received the results of the submission period and resolved that Golden Plains Shire will observe Melbourne Cup Day as a public holiday in 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024.