15 July 2016
Mr Brian Wilson
Community Services Directorate
Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs
Dear Mr Wilson
Replacing the Family and Community Day or the Queen’s Birthday with a permanent Reconciliation Day
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the ACT Government’s proposal to replace either the Queen’s Birthday or Family and Community Day public holidays with a permanent Reconciliation Day to commence in 2017.
Canberra Business Chamber (CBC) is committed to acknowledging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through the reconciliation process and is supportive of the renaming of one of the existing public holidays as a practical expression of the reconciliation journey.
CBC however would not support an additional public holiday being added to the calendar. The ACT currently has more public holidays than any other jurisdiction and we would argue for the removal of the Family and Community Day from the calendar.
As the Canberra Region looks to diversifying its economy by growing the private sector and moving away from the reliance on government funding, an additional public holiday would be counterproductive in achieving this aim. In particular, areas such as tourism and retail would be adversely effected.
We are however very happy for an existing public holiday to be renamed Reconciliation Day from 2017, if it is the considered view of Government.
Chief Executive Officer’