The Northern Territory Government will declare Saturday, 26 December 2020 a public holiday – to recognise and reward the Territory workers who have made extraordinary contributions to the Territory’s survival and success this year.
Under current legislation, if Boxing Day falls on a Saturday, the public holiday is observed on the following Monday and there is no official public holiday on the Saturday.
This means that Territorians who are required to work on Boxing Day, sacrificing time away from family and friends, do not receive public holiday penalty rates.
The Northern Territory is one of only three jurisdictions that doesn’t recognise both the Saturday and the Monday as public holidays.
For 2020, we will join the majority of states and territories in Australia by making both Saturday 26 December and Monday 28 December public holidays.
The Government will enact a legislative instrument to declare Saturday 26 December a public holiday. This arrangement will mean the Territory’s public holidays over this period are the same as New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia and the ACT.
Our frontline staff, hospitality and retail workers have gone above and beyond in delivering for Territorians this year – protecting us, caring for us, and serving us.
The Government has provided unprecedented support to Territory small businesses in 2020 – including with the Small Business Survival Fund, the My Territory retail vouchers, the Territory Tourism vouchers, the Business Improvement Grants, the Immediate Works Grants and several other programs.
The 2020 Budget also includes additional grant programs help businesses take advantage of the Territory’s economic recovery.
As we continue to support Territory small businesses through the Christmas period and into 2021, this decision also recognises Territory workers who have contributed so much to the Territory this year.
As noted by Chief Minister, Michael Gunner:
“This has been a hard year for everyone, and I think all Territorians have earned a break. But for a lot of our frontline workers, retail and hospitality staff, Boxing Day means another day of hard work.
“Boxing Day is traditionally a day for Australians to spend time with family, watch the cricket or hit the shops. It isn’t any ordinary day and it shouldn’t be treated like it is.
“While most of us are spending time with family and friends, these Territorians are still working for all of us.
“The Territorians who sacrifice their time off so we can enjoy our time off deserve to be appropriately recognised and rewarded for this.
“We are behind most of the country on this. Our decision brings us into line with almost every other state and territory. I know it won’t make everyone happy, but it strikes the right balance.
“We’ve moved heaven and earth to support Territory businesses this year, and this decision also gives a fair go to the workers who have done so much for all Territorians in 2020.
“I want you to know your efforts have not gone unnoticed. You have helped keep the Territory safe and Territory businesses open. You’ve put us in pole position to be Australia’s comeback capital. And we are all grateful for what you do.”