A grand celebration for Victorians

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram The Andrews government went into last year’s Victorian state election (as opposition) promising a raft of initiatives it intended to employ if elected.Among them, leader Daniel Andrews promised to implement an AFL Grand Final long weekend, raising a few eyebrows along the way.The long weekend is indisputably well received by many around the state, but has caught the ire of business owners, and arguably means little to those outside of Melbourne – aside from an extra day off.The focus of the long weekend centred on Friday’s traditional AFL Grand Final parade, which moves through the CBD, and the celebration of ‘Australia’s great game’, but it seems the Victorian government may be faced with a bit of an ‘egg on your face’ type scenario if – as expected – both Western Australian clubs make the grand final next weekend.Victoria’s northern neighbour New South Wales has already taken a dig at the implementation of the public holiday, with Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph running an article about Victorians having more reasons to love the footy (‘Public holiday outrage: Time has come for more in NSW now than [sic] Victorians have one more for the footy’).The article makes mention of the fact that Victorians already enjoy a “day off for a horse race” (Melbourne Cup) and now they also get to enjoy the fruits of their sporting fanaticism with a second sport related public holiday.Melbourne, more specifically, has long promoted itself as the ‘sporting capital of the county’ and was awarded the title of the sporting capital of the world in 2006, 2008 and 2010.Not to mention that the extra public holiday now gifts Victorians their 13th annual day of leisure (for the most part).But the economy is tipped to lose out as a result of the state’s love of sporting prowess. The Herald Sun last month ran an article suggesting the extra day off may cost the economy – which is struggling at the best of times according to some commentators – around $1.5 billion, with businesses in hospitality, construction, schooling and finance set to close their doors to avoid penalty rates.The fact that the game’s biggest day is threatening to feature two interstate clubs – Fremantle and West Coast – is pivotal to the Opposition’s objection to an extra public holiday.“To potentially have people from Adelaide or Perth coming to Melbourne for a Grand Final only to find half the city shut down not only costs us jobs, but hurts our pride,” Shadow Treasurer Michael O’Brien was quoted as saying in The Age earlier this month.Despite the sentiment, Neos Kosmos contacted a number of Greek-owned businesses, all of which will remain open.Vasilios Batzogiannis from International Diethnes Cakes on Lonsdale Street, in Melbourne’s CBD, said associated costs with closing for the day would be disastrous for his business. “Look we can’t afford not to open again, it’s hard for us. We have to open, because we are a family (business),” he said. “In the city we cannot afford to close, it is hard.”Equally, Joanna Katsakis from Melissa Cakes in Templestowe, in Melbourne’s east, said closing was never a consideration.“Not really, because we normally screen the footy here, even on the Friday we’ll remain open – [there would be] a lot of loss in takings.”Despite the arguments to and fro for an extra public holiday, the fact remains that Victorians have been rewarded for their passion, and with a sunny spring weekend forecast, the football gods have certainly taken Victoria under their wings.last_img read more