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Family & Community Day in Australia

Family and Community Day is a public holiday in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) in Australia on the first Monday of the September/October school holidays.

Is Family & Community Day a Public Holiday?

Family & Community Day is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

Family and Community Day activities for workers who have the day off include watching sporting events such as horse races.

©iStockphoto.com/christine balderas

Date Can Change

If the first Monday of the holiday break is Labour Day, Family and Community Day is moved to the second Monday of that period. The holiday was originally annual held on the first Tuesday of November, but was moved to the first Monday of the September/October school break from 2010 onwards.

What to Do

Family and Community Day is a day off work for most people in the ACT. The idea of fostering quality time for workers to spend with their families on this day is strongly encouraged by the territory’s government and the unions, who work together to organize and promote community events on this day. Many people use this time for leisure activities and hobbies.

What's Open or Closed?

Family and Community Day is a public holiday in the ACT so most public and private sector organizations and schools are closed. Authorities are reminded that, subject to criteria defined in the Workplace Relations Act 1996, employees may be entitled to refuse to work on public holidays. Most bus routes are not affected by the holiday but people who wish to travel via public transport on the day will need to check with their local transport authorities as transport schedules may change closer to the day.

About the Day

Family and Community Day is a new public holiday in the ACT. In 2007 the ACT’s Minister for Industrial Relations Andrew Barr officially confirmed that the public holiday would begin that year. Mr Barr said that Australians worked the longest hours in the developed world introduced the holiday in response to the previous federal government’s new industrial relations system. The holiday was introduced to compensate people in the ACT for these changes and to encourage more time to be spent with family and friends.

In 2008 Mr Barr announced that the public holiday was a success in 2007 and that it would continue to be held on the first Tuesday in November in 2008 and 2009. The ACT government and the unions worked together to organize events for the day which saw many families spending time together at the event. The major Family and Community Day event for 2007 was held at Glebe Park in Canberra. It featured amusement rides, activities for children, food, and games. A big screen was provided to allow families to enjoy the Melbourne Cup Day race, which is dubbed by many as the “race that stops the nation”.

Another change was made on the holiday’s date when the ACT’s Minister for Industrial Relations John Hargreaves announced in August 2009 that the territory’s Family and Community Day would move in the future to be held at a different date from 2010 onwards compared to previous years.

Mr Hargreaves announced that Family and Community Day would be on the first Monday of the September/October school holidays in 2010 (Monday, September 27, 2010). “However, in future years where the first Monday of the school holidays falls on the currently designated Labour Day public holiday, such as will occur in 2011 and 2012, the Family and Community Day will be moved to the second Monday of the term break," Mr Hargreaves said.

Note: The dates in the calendar for future years are only estimated dates. Please note that Family and Community Day falls on the first Monday of the ACT’s end-of-term-three school holiday break unless the first Monday of the end-of-term-three school holiday break is Labour Day. If so, then the Family and Community Day holiday is moved to the second Monday of the end-of-term-three school holiday break.

Family & Community Day Observances

Holiday currently only shown for years 2015–2017.

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2015MonSep 28Family & Community DayState Holiday
2016MonSep 26Family & Community DayState Holiday
2017MonSep 25Family & Community DayState Holiday

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