Some Queensland councils that were set to have their Ekka public holiday next week have seen the date rescheduled, after the show was cancelled and the state government postponed Brisbane’s public holiday next Wednesday.

Key points:

  • The Ekka public holiday is being postponed for three local councils in south-east Queensland — Brisbane, Scenic Rim and Moreton Bay Region
  • Other councils have elected to keep their August 9 holiday in place
  • A replacement long weekend will be announced later in the year

Queensland deputy premier Steven Miles today confirmed the Ekka public holiday that was scheduled for Wednesday, August 11, in Brisbane and Monday, August 9 in the Scenic Rim would be postponed.

The decision came as the state recorded 16 new cases in its Delta variant COVID-19 cluster, and 11 local council areas in south-east Queensland remained in strict lockdown until Sunday, August 8.

“Last year, when we delayed the public holiday to create a new, special long weekend, we saw Queenslanders flock to tourist destinations, spending money in our hospitality businesses,” Mr Miles said.

Councils moving their public holiday

Depending on which council area people live in, they may still have a public holiday on Monday, or it may be deferred until later in the year.

Postponement of the Scenic Rim Regional Council‘s August 9 public holiday was confirmed today by the region’s mayor, Greg Christensen, who said the state’s Industrial Relations Department had contacted the council yesterday to ask what the council preferred.

“Given the current lockdown is extended until Sunday, we felt it best in the overall community and local businesses’ best interests to seek a repeal of the holiday,” he said.

“Ultimately, the decision will be made by the Minister, and a new date set in the future that will enable our region to have a long weekend without the current travel restrictions.”

Large crowds attending the Royal Queensland Show

Large crowds typically attend the Ekka, with bumper attendance in 2016 for 140th anniversary of the Royal Queensland Show.(

AAP Image: Dan Peeled

)

On Wednesday, Moreton Bay Regional Council also unanimously voted to move its show day holiday from its original date of Monday, August 9.

“A new date is yet to be determined with the state government but council will certainly be advocating for another long weekend of celebrations in the Moreton Bay Region, maybe around an event like Caboolture Family Fun Day or [the] Festival of Sails,” mayor Peter Flannery said in a statement.

The Moreton Bay Food + Wine Festival was cancelled when the south-east Queensland lockdown began suddenly last weekend in a heavy hit to the region’s tourism.

Councils keeping August 9 holiday

So far, Redland City Council and Lockyer Valley Regional Council have both confirmed their August 9 holiday would go ahead.

Logan City Council will also retain its August 9 day off, saying a short-notice postponement would have caused too much uncertainty for the community.

The North Burnett Regional Council areas of Biggenden, Mt Perry, Monto, Eidsvold and Gayndah will also keep their holiday as planned. As a result, some council facilities in those areas will be closed.

Crowds of people in a square lining up for an Ekka strawberry sundae

In 2020, pop-up strawberry sundae stalls sold thousands of the Ekka delicacy for charity after the Ekka was cancelled.(

ABC Radio Brisbane: Jessica Hinchliffe

)

South Burnett Regional Council will keep its August 9 public holiday, as will affected parts of Gympie, Balonne, Cherbourg, Somerset and Western Downs council areas.

Parts of Toowoomba council area affected by the show day — Yarraman, Upper Yarraman and Cooyar — are also listed on the state government’s website as still retaining their August 9 date.

Gladstone‘s Regional Show Day, which aligns with the Ekka public holiday, is also still scheduled for August 9.

In the Bundaberg region, people in postcode 4671 are still listed as having their show day on August 9.

When will postponed holiday be held?

That is not known yet.

Mr Miles said the rescheduled holiday date, when determined, would need to be passed through Parliament later in August.

In a statement, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she knew many people were disappointed with the Ekka’s cancellation.

“If we can’t have the Ekka this year, to help keep Queenslanders safe, it makes sense to move the holiday,” she said.

It’s hoped a long weekend later in the year will encourage more residents to put tourism dollars back into the coffers of small businesses around south-east Queensland.

Last year — during the worst of the pandemic when the Ekka was cancelled for the third time in its 144-year history — the Ekka public holiday was shifted to a Friday for several local councils to create the People’s Day Long Weekend on August 14.

Ekka public holiday to be moved for three council areas
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