Australian business groups express concerns about Queen’s memorial public holiday

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Australian retail and business groups have joined the medical association in raising concerns about disruptions caused by the public holiday to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II after her death last week.

Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, announced on Sunday the “one-off public holiday” would be held on September 22 as a national day of mourning.

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) NSW president, Dr Michael Bonning, criticised the decision on Monday and said it would cause further strain on an already stretched health system.

Albanese announced the one-off public holiday on Sunday.

“This has been a year of significant disruption in health care anyway and we have thousands of people around the country who have booked surgery,” Dr Bonning told ABC Radio Sydney.

The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) also said on Monday it respected the government’s decision, but the holiday would create complications for businesses with store closures and staff scheduling challenges.

Meanwhile, restaurant owners are weighing up whether or not they should open.

Sydney restaurant owner, Bill Drakopoulos.

Bill Drakopoulos, who owns a number of Sydney restaurants including Aqua Dining and Ripples Chowder Bay, said he expected the requirement to pay public holiday penalty rates would mean many businesses would run at a loss.

“Some businesses will make a loss… Public holidays are expensive days to trade,” Mr Drakopoulos told The Daily Telegraph.

The managing director of Market Economics, Stephen Koukoulas, tweeted his “quick calculation” that the memorial public holiday “will cost the economy $1.5 billion.”

In response, Australia’s PM has defended his decision and said tradition could sometimes be inconvenient but important for people to observe the loss of Queen Elizabeth “in their own way.”

“A one off public holiday and a national day of mourning is an appropriate response that was agreed to by myself and the premiers and chief ministers,” Mr Albanese said.

Mr Albanese said the details of things such as what would happen with scheduled elective surgeries were still being worked out with states and territories.

READ MORE: ‘She looked at me and smiled’: Greek Australians remember Queen Elizabeth II.

Source: The Guardian.

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