Newman gives Brisbane the day off before G20 Summit

By Paul Hemsley

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman will give Brisbane workers the day off before the G20 Summit in November 2014 by creating a “once-in-a-lifetime” public holiday to reduce any “potential disruptions”, which the state government hopes will ease the event preparations.

The Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (G20) will be one of the largest events that to take place in Brisbane because of the influx of up to 25 world leaders including United States President Barack Obama, seven heads of international organisations, 4000 delegates and 3000 domestic and international media.

To reduce the congestion that is expected when thousands of additional people arrive in the city for the event, the state government has partnered with Brisbane City Council to give employees working in the city the day off to make way for the international delegates and their security protection.

The one-off public holiday will take place on Friday 14th November 2014 to give the city a breather before the event is held on the weekend on the 15th and 16th of November.

Although the public holiday will apply only to the Brisbane Local Government area, Mr Newman said that the benefits will be “enjoyed by people across the south-east,” as entitlement is not based on a person’s place of residence but their place of work.

Mr Newman has also emphasised his desire for the G20 event to create a “major boost” to the local and state economy and the many large and small businesses in the city.

“Hotels will be booked out and leaders and delegates will be able to experience our world-class infrastructure, skilled workforce and obvious lifestyle advantages,” Mr Newman said.

The preparations for the G20 event have already come into full swing with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s (PM&C) tender notice in June 2013 inviting a host broadcaster deliver coverage of the event from the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC).

However security has been prioritised in the event preparations given the high profile international leaders that will be attending the event, which has resulted in the public holiday being created.

Queensland Minister for Police Jack Dempsey said the public holiday would make the important security considerations easier to implement.

“Brisbane city will be bustling while the summit is on, which may make it a little harder to move around as freely as people normally would,” Mr Dempsey said.

Mr Dempsey said it is very likely there will be road closures in and around the CBD and South Bank – but the public holiday on the Friday will help reduce traffic when final preparations are taking place for the beginning of the Summit.

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