Council Sets Holiday For Next Four Years
At last night’s meeting, Council resolved that Golden Plains Shire observe Melbourne Cup Day as a public holiday for the next four years.
Council’s decision followed public consultation undertaken from 24 February to 18 April, 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.
Golden Plains Shire Mayor Cr Helena Kirby says the change to public holiday arrangements reflected changes within and outside the Golden Plains Shire community.
“Thank you to every resident and business owner who took part in our recent public holiday consultation. By locking in the public holiday dates for the next four years, Council is giving our residents and businesses certainty to help with their yearly planning.
“With a significant amount of our community requesting the Shire observe Melbourne Cup Day and the vast majority of other councils now marking Melbourne Cup Day, including our neighbours in City of Ballarat, Council has decided to follow suit and set the first Tuesday in November as the spring public holiday for the whole Shire.
“During the meeting discussion, Councillors speaking to the Melbourne Cup public holiday discussed the negative impact of two different public holidays on local businesses and the value of consistency across the Shire for families, as expressed in the community consultation.”
In Victoria, Melbourne Cup Day is observed as a public holiday unless an alternate local holiday has been arranged by a non-metro council. Since 2011, 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.
In recent years there has been a steady decline in councils observing an alternate public holiday to Melbourne Cup Day, which was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic last year with only seven of Victoria’s 79 councils marking an alternative local holiday. To date, only three councils have confirmed alternative public holidays with the Victorian Minister for Small Business, including City of Greater Geelong, which has declared it will observe Geelong Cup on Wednesday 20 October. Last month, the City of Ballarat resolved to observe Melbourne Cup Day for the next four years, following feedback from the Ballarat Agricultural and Pastoral Society that it did not seek the council to declare Ballarat Show Day as a public holiday.