Newcastle council rejects show holiday

THE future of the Newcastle Show does not look promising after Newcastle City Council decided to permanently waive its right to apply for a public holiday.

Up until and including 2011, Newcastle council has applied to the NSW minister for a public holiday on the Friday of the show weekend.

In 2012 and 2013, the council made an application for a local event day instead.

At last week's council meeting, councillors voted 7-6 to make it council policy to ask for a local event day for the Friday of the show weekend.

This is at odds with Lake Macquarie City Council, which voted 8-3 in favour of asking the minister for a full day public holiday.

Newcastle Show Association president Roger Geary said Newcastle council's decision would have long-term consequences for the show and significantly affect attendance figures, especially students for the Friday session.

This year only 10 schools and 207 students pre-booked excursions to the show.

"It's not helpful.

"The exhibitors complain; sponsorship has dropped . . . and the volunteers and competitors can't attend and compete," Mr Geary said.

Lake Macquarie council made an effort to consult the community before making a decision, with 56.8 per cent of surveyed residents asking for at least a half-day public holiday, Mr Geary said.

"Newcastle has only consulted with about a half dozen business associations - they haven't put it to the community as a whole."

Mr Geary said he tried to compromise with Newcastle council by proposing a half-day public holiday but was unsuccessful.

Lord Mayor Jeff McCloy said both employees and employers would suffer if a Friday public holiday was approved.

The only people who would benefit would be the travelling stallholders, he said.

"They come into our town, take some money out of our town and leave."

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