Horsham retains Melbourne Cup public holiday

DAY OFF: Horsham will retain Melbourne Cup day as a public holiday. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

DAY OFF: Horsham will retain Melbourne Cup day as a public holiday. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

HORSHAM Rural City residents will enjoy a public holiday on Melbourne Cup day for the next three years.

Horsham council considered requests for an alternative public holiday date from three organisations, but decided to maintain the status quo.

Horsham Show Society, Wimmera Machinery Field Days committee and Horsham Racing Club made submissions to move the public holiday.

Business Horsham surveyed its members in February at council's request to determine the effects of an alternative public holiday arrangement on businesses.

The 115 members surveyed were specifically asked about moving the public holiday to March for the field days, or moving it to the September-October weekend for this year's Horsham Show.

Of the 37 per cent of members who responded to the survey, 68 per cent wanted the holiday to remain on Melbourne Cup day.

Cr Heather Phillips said it was important for the public holiday date to suit the whole region.

"Horsham is essentially a commerce town," she said.

"To grant a public holiday for any of the three applicants doesn't hold any guarantee that there would be increased numbers attending their events.

"We tend to have an attitude with public holidays that it is an opportunity to get away, to get out.

"Melbourne uses it as a 'get out of Melbourne' for a four-day weekend."

Cr Phillips said the decision would not suit everyone.

"I know there are going to be three lots of people who are really disappointed with us," she said.

"It's not that we're not supporting their events, but we need Horsham to be active and open for business on those days."

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