Businesses oppose rally holiday

PLANS for a public holiday in the Tweed for the controversial world car rally championships in September are set to be torpedoed by some of the rally's strongest supporters - business people.

While Kyogle business operators last week voted to officially voice overwhelming support for the rally, business people in Murwillumbah have quietly told organisers to dump proposals for a public holiday.

Murwillumbah business people say while they support the rally, a public holiday proposed for Friday, September 4, would be too big an inconvenience on one of the best trading days of the week.

Last month Tweed Shire Council called for public submissions on whether it should declare a public holiday after approaches from rally organisers who wanted to take school buses off some stretches of the rally route on the Friday.

The rally is due to be held from September 3-4 on mostly isolated gravel roads in Tweed and Kyogle shires, although the headquarters will be based at Kingscliff.

“If you make a public holiday all those people that stay open, like food places, have got to pay double time,” said Phil Youngblutt, Murwillumbah Business Chamber president.

“For the others it's just a total waste of a date. In this climate, they think they would be better off with it not being a public holiday. Friday is their big trading day.”

Mr Youngblutt said it was his understood that most of the events planned for Murwillumbah would take place in the evening.

Last week, Repco Rally Australia general manager Gary Upson told a business breakfast meeting the public holiday plan was being re-considered after retailers complained it would interfere with trade.

He is now waiting to hear from Tweed Shire Council, which is expected to consider submissions from the public on the holiday proposal when it meets next week.

“The initial feedback we've had is the business community is not looking to support another public holiday,” Mr Upson said.

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