Holiday change could see Winternationals take a hit
ONE of the region's most popular events has been placed in jeopardy after the Palaszczuk Government decided to scrap the June long weekend.
The government decided to move the Queen's Birthday long weekend from June to October and shift the Labour Day long weekend from October to May.
It means Queensland will be the only state in the nation not afforded a June long weekend from next year.
Organisers of the hugely-popular Winternationals Drag Racing Championships at Willowbank Raceway are scratching their heads at the decision.
The event, the largest of its type outside the United States, has been held on the June long weekend for nearly five decades.
The four-day event draws crowds of more than 40,000 and pumps millions of dollars into the Ipswich economy.
Willowbank Raceway chief Tony Mason said scrapping the June long weekend would certainly affect crowd numbers at next year's event.
He said the event attracted people from across the state, interstate and overseas.
"Scrapping the long weekend will certainly impact Queensland race-goers," he said.
"We will still run the event in June but what impact this decision will have on crowd numbers and the overall impact to the economy - we will have to wait and see.
"It is a shame this government has made this decision without any thought or consultation based purely on an ideological basis."
Lockyer Valley MP Ian Rickuss said the decision to scrap the long weekend was poor and ill thought out.
He said it would affect numerous events normally planned for that weekend across the state.
"This government is like a drunk using a light pole to prop itself up," he said.
"I wrote to the premier two months ago to see if she would provide financial assistance to organisers to help them in the transition, but I have not heard back from her."
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said the decision would not stop the event revving up next year.
He said he would work with event organisers to ensure it was a success.
"It is a poor decision - the government certainly did not think about the ramifications the change could have on communities across the state," he said.
"It is disappointing. This is a signature event not only for the region but for the entire south-east corner."
Ipswich Labor MP Jennifer Howard, who supported the change, said she did not think the events success had anything to do with being held on the June long weekend.
"People have been going to the Winternationals for a very long time," she said.
"People go to the Winternationals because it is a first-class event at a first-class venue."
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