THE call for a public holiday for Beef Australia 2015 has been rejected by the Rockhampton Regional Council's performance and services committee.
The event organisers had proposed the holiday for the opening day on Monday, May 4, 2015, citing as reasons the economic benefits and public exposure the triennial event brings to the region.
During the 2012 event, the opening day fell on the Labour Day public holiday with more than 20,000 people passing through the gates. Next year, the Labour Day holiday is being moved to October.
The council committee on Tuesday voted in favour of the officer's recommendation that the holiday could not be supported because of "competitive disadvantage impact on... and productivity loss to local business". The recommendation also encouraged Beef Australia to prepare an evidence-based case for a potential public holiday in 2018. Councillors Ellen Smith and Neil Fisher voted against the recommendation.
Acting Mayor Cr Tony Williams said the council had to consider the impact a public holiday has on local business.
"Council injects $250,000 into Beef (Australia)," he said. "That is a huge investment and we don't want to see any negative impacts by doing something that may have a detrimental effect on some of our businesses."
Cr Smith said while she could understand both sides of the argument, she supported a public holiday.
"I think that by declaring a public holiday you are declaring to the world that this is an important event in Rockhampton," she said.
Cr Fisher said he saw advantages in having a public holiday.
"I'm a business owner so I know the impact that public holidays can have. I think this is one of those big regional events where probably many businesses would see a net gain."