15 August 2023

Will there be a public holiday if the Matildas waltz away with the World Cup?

| Ian Bushnell
Join the conversation
people watching the matildas in garema place

Rug up and do it all again on Wednesday night in Garema Place. Photo: ACT Government.

There is a lot riding on Wednesday night’s World Cup semi-final.

If the Matildas win, we could have a day off.

The Prime Minister is keen, and NSW Premier Chris Minns has already committed.

READ ALSO Raiders legend Jarrod Croker to retire at the end of this season

But ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr won’t be taking any unilateral action, preferring any holiday to be celebrated nationally.

“If there is a national public holiday for the Matildas it will be observed in the ACT,” he said. “The NSW announcement is a factor in favour, but a national holiday is strongly preferred.”

The conservative side of politics is less keen and business is worried about the cost, particularly penalty rates for those who will still have to work to keep things ticking over.

New Canberra Business Chamber chief executive Greg Harford told the ABC that a public holiday would increase business running costs and lower productivity.

“Look, if the Matildas win the World Cup then obviously we have to celebrate, but doing that through a public holiday will probably not be great for business,” he said.

National Cabinet meets on Wednesday, so the subject of a public holiday will no doubt be at the top of the agenda. Expect a decision then.

Meanwhile, after more than 1500 people packed into Garema Place on Saturday night to watch the epic quarter-final against France, ACT Government officials have thought about the implications if the Matildas make it through to the final: “We’re going to need a bigger venue.”

It’s too late for Wednesday night but they are scrambling to find somewhere with more space and a massive screen for the big one as the final approaches.

But Garema Place is preparing for another night of heart palpitations and will host a free screening of the Australia vs England game tomorrow, with kick-off at 8 pm.

The government says there will be limited seats available but feel free to bring your own chairs.

Toilets, first aid and security will be on site, and food and beverages will be available from the local cafes and restaurants around Garema Place.

You can bring your own food and non-alcoholic drinks but alcohol is not permitted.

READ ALSO Mazda’s finally made a plug-in hybrid. What’s it like?

The good news is it should be dry, with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting a partly cloudy day with a mild high of 15 degrees Celsius, but the evening will be chilly with the overnight minimum for Thursday a frosty 0 degrees.

Sites around Canberra will light up in green and gold to honour the Matildas, including Malcolm Fraser Bridge near Canberra Airport, the Fountain in City Walk outside the Canberra Centre, the National Museum of Australia, Parliament House, Old Parliament House and the light rail stations.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments
GrumpyGrandpa8:08 pm 16 Aug 23

Public holiday! How stupid does Albo think we are?

It’s nothing more than a popularist move. Call a public holiday, celebrate as a nation, then slip in a Referendum date.

Be great to have a covered stadium as they do in Dunedin to watch such an event – or even better a national team playing in the national capital. But I suppose it is asking too much to ask the current government to match a provincial NZ city. They have a red tram to build !

Stephen Saunders4:19 pm 15 Aug 23

A public holiday? Doubt it. Not in any doubt – us mugs who fervently support Canberra United, will still face third-world facilities, an unreadable scoreboard.

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.