THE PEOPLE of the Clarence Valley enjoy more public holidays than any other local government area in New South Wales - a state of affairs Clarence Valley Council moved to maintain yesterday.
Concerns were recently raised by Grafton business people claiming public holidays made it too expensive for local pubs to open after Cup Day.
However the council's Civil and Corporate Committee has backed the holidays.
Mayor Richie Williamson said the holidays were part of the Valley's culture.
"We may have more half-day holidays than anywhere in the state but that is part of our culture, it's what sets us apart," said Mayor Williamson.
"These are extremely important events for our community and I think council should strongly support what is a culture in the Clarence."
The committee, which includes councillors Karen Toms, Jim Simmons, Jeremy Challacombe and Jason Kingsley, voted in favour of the holidays, except for Cr Toms.
"I don't support public holidays for gambling and drinking events, even if they are historical," she said.
Clarence River Jockey Club member Walter Green made a submission in which he said that while the cup day holiday was important, it should end at 5pm to ensure pubs could afford to pay staff and stay open after the races.
"What we have seen in the last few years is an impact on the hotels and clubs and I think it would help if the holiday was midday until 5pm," he said.
List of proposed holidays:
- April 24 - Maclean Show Day
- July 10 - Ramornie Race Day
- July 11 - Grafton Cup Day
- October 31 - Jacaranda Thursday