Short notice public holiday sparks concern

·3-min read

The September 22 public holiday announced to commemorate the Queen's life has businesses and medical organisations worried about their ability to cope at such short notice.

Concerns have been raised about the impact of the holiday on booked elective surgery and GP appointments.

The Australian Medical Association's Queensland branch has been urging the state's health department to keep patients in the loop.

"These people deserve clarity as to what's going to happen," AMAQ president Maria Bolton told ABC Radio on Monday.

"We know that people who've been waiting on elective surgery lists have been waiting for some time, and we know that people who are waiting for elective surgeries, it's not optional," Ms Bolton said.

Queensland's health department said it was seeking advice before making a decision on the matter.

In South Australia, Premier Peter Malinauskas said the state government was working alongside public hospitals to make sure as many elective surgeries can take place as possible.

"This is complicated by the closure of schools and childcare centres impacting health workers' ability to attend work," Mr Malinauskas said.

In response to the concerns raised, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said medical procedures would go ahead on the public holiday.

"The idea that operations don't occur during public holidays, is of course, not correct," he told reporters on Monday.

"Medical procedures are always a priority."

Businesses, including retailers and hospitality groups, are also concerned about the short-notice public holiday.

Head of the Victorian branch of the Ai Group, Tim Piper, said the one-off holiday to mourn the Queen was appropriate given her 70-year reign but would undoubtedly put businesses under pressure.

He said it would be "very busy and very expensive" for business.

The Victorian public holiday for the AFL grand final is the following Friday (September 23), which means four consecutive days of penalty rates for hospitality businesses and sectors that trade on holidays and weekends.

Western Australian businesses are in a similar position, with the Queen's Birthday public holiday on Monday, September 26.

Meanwhile, the ASX announced on Monday evening that it would shut down for the public holiday.

A spokesman said that while the short notice presented "operational, technical and business challenges for ASX and the markets," the exchange appreciated the support of its stakeholders to honour the occasion.

Asked about the snap holiday's impact on businesses, Mr Albanese said it was an appropriate response to an historic occasion.

He said essential services remain open on public holidays and penalty rates apply.

Impact Economics and Policy's Angela Jackson said there were "swings and roundabouts" when it came to the cost of public holidays on the economy, with some sectors benefiting and others hit with extra costs.

"International research indicates there can be small positives due to increased spending as people are not at work and production loss is generally made up," Dr Jackson told AAP.

KPMG economist Sarah Hunter said public holidays tend to boost trade for leisure, hospitality and retail sectors because many people take the opportunity to meet up and socialise outside of work.

She said the four-day weekend in Victoria would be likely to drive extra demand for tourism and travel services.

But she said this would be offset by less activity in manufacturing, construction and office-based sectors.

Dr Hunter said there would be a temporary impact on GDP for the quarter.

"But as it's just one day, there won't be a permanent drag on productivity - it will be a blip and then activity will bounce back in the December quarter," she said.