How Many Public Holidays In NSW, QLD, ACT, WA, SA & TAS?

Australian public holidays you must know about.

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Last updated: 02nd May 2024

public holidays in australia

Last updated: 02nd May 2024

Reading Time: 11 minutes

Keeping track of public holidays in Australia is complicated, considering we will observe nine public holidays nationally in 2024. Also, each of the six states and two territories has its own unique holidays.

This is problematic for employers, especially those who have teams working in different states. To keep your operations running smoothly, we’ve compiled all the details of public holidays that are observed by the entire nation, by state, and by region.

Can Employees Be Forced To Work A Public Holiday?

Before we outline every public holiday in Australia, it’s worth reviewing a legal case from 2019 in which the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia decided that employers cannot demand that employees work on public holidays.

Employers can only request this.

Did You Know?

BHP, a mining company, rostered 85 employees to work 12.5-hour shifts on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. However, the CFMEU (a trade union) alleged that the agency acting on behalf of BHP had breached the Fair Work Act 2009.

According to the National Employment Standards (NES), employees are entitled to be absent from work on a public holiday. The Court recognised that the rostering didn’t constitute a request, since employees had no choice but to work – setting a new precedent.

Important!

The onus is on employers to request employees to work on a public holiday. This applies to those working in casual, temporary, and part-time positions.

Expert Tip: Add Australian public holidays to your diary.

At the click of a few buttons, using the free CalendarLabs calendar, you can download (most) Australian public holidays to any iCal calendar-supported application, such as Outlook, Gmail, or Apple Calendar.

This gets updated automatically for the following year, to keep you abreast of any changes.

It doesn’t contain some state-wide and regional holidays like Reconciliation Day and Adelaide Cup Day, but it captures the main ones, and you’ll get into the habit of tracking them.

If you work in a medium or large organisation, I recommend delegating the task of calendar-event creation to a colleague who can invite the organisation en masse to a diary event for every public holiday.

(Use the management summary at the end of this article for reference.)

That way, everyone will get full visibility of what’s coming up.

How Many Public Holidays In ACT?

In the Australian Capital Territory, there are 13 public holidays, including 11 national holidays and two state-specific holidays:

  • New Year’s Day – 1st January
  • Australia Day – 26th January
  • Good Friday  – 29th March
  • Easter Saturday – 30th March
  • Easter Sunday – 31st March
  • Easter Monday – 1st April
  • Anzac Day – 25th April
  • King’s Birthday – 10th June
  • Labour Day – 7th October
  • Christmas Day – 25th December
  • Boxing Day – 26th December

Unlike other states, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are not observed as half-day public holidays in ACT.

State-wide holidays in the Australian Capital Territory.

Canberra Day is only observed in the ACT and the Jervis Bay Territory. It’s a state-wide holiday that applies to all residents in the ACT, not just those living in the city of Canberra.

It falls on the second Monday in March.

Reconciliation Day marks the beginning of National Reconciliation Week to celebrate indigenous culture and history. It’s a relatively new holiday, which was first observed in 2018.

In 2024, these holidays will be observed on the following dates:

  • Canberra Day – 11th March
  • Reconciliation Day – 27th May

Regional holidays in the Australian Capital Territory.

There are no regional holidays for specific cities or towns in the ACT.

One exception to the list above is that a bank holiday occurs on the first Monday in August, although bank holidays don’t apply to everyone. Refer to your Enterprise Agreement or Award for more information.

How Many Public Holidays In NSW?

In New South Wales, there are 11 national holidays:

  • New Year’s Day – 1st January
  • Australia Day – 26th January
  • Good Friday  – 29th March
  • Easter Saturday – 30th March
  • Easter Sunday – 31st March
  • Easter Monday – 1st April
  • Anzac Day – 25th April
  • King’s Birthday – 10th June
  • Labour Day – 7th October
  • Christmas Day – 25th December
  • Boxing Day – 26th December

Unlike some states, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are not observed as a half-day public holiday in New South Wales.

State-wide holidays in New South Wales.

There are no state-wide holidays in New South Wales.

Regional holidays in New South Wales.

In New South Wales, there are several regional holidays in addition to national public holidays.

  • Walcha Cup – Midday to 6pm – 9th February (Walcha)
  • Kangaroo Valley Show – 16th February (Shoalhaven)
  • Albury Gold Cup – Midday to 6pm – 22nd March (Albury City)
  • Muswellbrook Cup – 5th April (Muswellbrook)
  • Yeoval Show – 30th April (Yeoval)
  • Maclean Show – 17th April (Clarence Valley)
  • Nyngan Show – 6th May (Bogan Shire)
  • Coonamble Annual Show – 15th May (Coonamble Shire)
  • Scone Cup – 17th May (Upper Hunter Shire)
  • Ramornie Race Day – 17th July (Clarence Valley)
  • Grafton Cup – 18th July (Clarence Valley)
  • Coffs Harbour Gold Cup – 2nd August (City of Coffs Harbour)
  • Trundle Show – 9am to 5pm – 14th August (Parkes)
  • Peak Hill Show – 9am to 5pm – 21st August (Parkes)
  • Parkes Show – Midday to 6pm – 27th August (Parkes)
  • West Wyalong Show – 4th September (Bland Shire)
  • Lismore Cup – 19th September (Lismore City Council Area)
  • Jacaranda Thursday – 31st October (Clarence Valley)

Wow! Clarence Valley residents get an extra four public holidays and Parkes residents get three.

Lucky for some. Also, in NSW, the first Monday in August is a Bank Holiday, during which banks and financial institutions are closed.

How Many Public Holidays In NT?

In Nothern Territory, 12 national public holidays are observed:

  • New Year’s Day – 1st January
  • Australia Day – 26th January
  • Good Friday  – 29th March
  • Easter Saturday – 30th March
  • Easter Sunday – 31st March
  • Easter Monday – 1st April
  • Anzac Day – 25th April
  • King’s Birthday – 10th June
  • Christmas Eve – 24th December (19:00-00:00)
  • Christmas Day – 25th December
  • Boxing Day – 26th December
  • New Year’s Eve – 31st December (19:00-00:00)

In Northern Territory, residents also observe May Day, which is often referred to as Labour Day. They also observe half-day holidays on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

State-wide holidays in Northern Territory.

May Day, also colloquially referred to (rather than officially) as Labour Day, is usually observed on the first Monday in May, to celebrate the achievements of workers and the labour movement.

Picnic Day is typically celebrated on the first Monday of August and is a time to enjoy outdoor activities, such as barbeques, picnics, and sports.

In 2024, these holidays will be observed on the following dates:

  • May Day – 6th May
  • Picnic Day – 5th August

Regional holidays in the Northern Territory.

In Northern Territory, there are five regional holidays in addition to the national and state-wide public holidays.

  • Borroloola Show Day – 16th August (Borroloola)
  • Alice Springs Show Day – 5th July (Alice Springs)
  • Tennant Creek Show Day – 12th July (Tennant Creek)
  • Katherine Show Day – 19th July (Katherine)
  • Darwin Show Day – 26th July (Darwin)

How Many Public Holidays In QLD?

In Queensland, 12 national public holidays are observed:

  • New Year’s Day – 1st January
  • Australia Day – 26th January
  • Good Friday  – 29th March
  • Easter Saturday – 30th March
  • Easter Sunday – 31st March
  • Easter Monday – 1st April
  • Anzac Day – 25th April
  • King’s Birthday – 7th October
  • Labour Day – 6th May
  • Christmas Eve – 24th December (18:00-00:00)
  • Christmas Day – 25th December
  • Boxing Day – 26th December

Unlike in other states, the King’s birthday and Labour Day are celebrated on different days.

Christmas Eve is also observed an hour earlier than in Northern Territory and South Australia, starting from 6pm. New Year’s Eve, however, is not observed as a half-day holiday in Queensland.

State-wide holidays in Queensland.

There are no state-wide holidays in Queensland.

Regional holidays in Queensland.

The Ekka, previously known as the Royal Queensland Show, is an agricultural show.

The public holiday is officially named Royal National Agricultural (RNA) Show Day – also known as Ekka People’s Day. It welcomes over 400,000 visitors each year with over 21,000 competition entries!

In 2024, People’s Day will be observed on the 14th of August in these locations: Brisbane; Burdekin; Charters Towers; Cloncurry; Gold Coast; Livingstone; Logan; Mackay; Rockhampton; Weipa Town Area; and Whitsunday (Bowen area only).

How Many Public Holidays In SA?

In South Australia, 13 national public holidays are observed:

  • New Year’s Day – 1st January
  • Australia Day – 26th January
  • Good Friday  – 29th March
  • Easter Saturday – 30th March
  • Easter Sunday – 31st March
  • Easter Monday – 1st April
  • Anzac Day – 25th April
  • King’s Birthday – 10th June
  • Labour Day – 7th October
  • Christmas Eve – 24th December (19:00-00:00)
  • Christmas Day – 25th December
  • Boxing Day – 26th December
  • New Year’s Eve – 31st December (19:00-00:00)

There’s not a single national public holiday that isn’t observed in South Australia.

In all the other states, there is at least one exception, be that the part-day holiday on Christmas Eve in ACT or Labour Day in Tasmania.

State-wide holidays in Queensland.

Proclamation Day celebrates the founding of the government in South Australia as a British province. It is observed on Boxing Day in Queensland and the two terms are used interchangeably.

Adelaide Cup Day is a day dedicated to another horse racing event, and it’s usually held on the second Monday of March. In 2024, it will be held on the 11th of March.

Regional holidays in South Australia.

There are no regional holidays in South Australia.

How Many Public Holidays In TAS?

In Tasmania, eight national public holidays are observed:

  • New Year’s Day – 1st January
  • Australia Day – 26th January
  • Good Friday  – 29th March
  • Easter Monday – 1st April
  • Anzac Day – 25th April
  • King’s Birthday – 10th June
  • Christmas Day – 25th December
  • Boxing Day – 26th December

There is no dedicated public holiday for Easter Saturday, Easter Sunday, Christmas Eve, or New Year’s Eve in Tasmania.

State-wide holidays in Tasmania.

In Tasmania, Eight Hours Day is celebrated, which other states refer to as Labour Day.

It’s a celebration of the workers who fought to improve working conditions in Australia to introduce the eight-hour working day.

Interestingly, Tasmania is the only Australian state that observes Easter Tuesday.

It replaces Easter Sunday, which is not a public holiday. Although Easter Tuesday is only observed by public-sector employees.

In 2024, these holidays will be observed on the following dates:

  • Eight Hours Day – 11th March
  • Easter Tuesday – 2nd April

Regional holidays in Tasmania.

In Tasmania, there are 11 regional holidays in addition to national and state-wide public holidays.

  • Devonport Cup (half-day holiday) – 10th January
  • Royal Hobart Regatta – 12th February
  • Launceston Cup – 28th February
  • King Island Show – 5th March
  • AGFEST – 3rd May
  • Burnie Show – 4th October
  • Royal Launceston Show – 10th October
  • Flinders Island Show – 18th October
  • Royal Hobart Show – 24th October
  • Recreation Day – 4th November
  • Devonport Show – 29th November

The list of locations these events apply to is too comprehensive for this article. You can find out more about which regions these public holidays apply on the official Tasmanian government website.

How Many Public Holidays In VIC?

In Victoria, 11 national public holidays are observed:

  • New Year’s Day – 1st January
  • Australia Day – 26th January
  • Labour Day – 11th March
  • Good Friday  – 29th March
  • Easter Saturday – 30th March
  • Easter Sunday – 31st March
  • Easter Monday – 1st April
  • Anzac Day – 25th April
  • King’s Birthday – 10th June
  • Christmas Day – 25th December
  • Boxing Day – 26th December

Labour Day in Victoria is celebrated on a different day than in most states. Also, no half-day holiday is observed for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

State-wide holidays in Victoria.

The Friday before the AFL Grand Final, aka Grand Final Eve or Grand Final Friday, is a public holiday that’s exclusively celebrated in Victoria. Thousands line the streets to watch the parade, with many wearing full kits and waving flags.

Also, the Melbourne Cup (“the race that stops the nation”) is another public holiday dedicated to horse racing, and it’s been a public holiday in Victoria since 1876.

It’s coming under increasing scrutiny from animal rights activists, and even Taylor Swift cancelled her scheduled performance due to the protests in 2023.

In 2024, these holidays will be observed on the following dates:

  • AFL Grand Final Eve – 27th September
  • Melbourne Cup Day – 5th November

Regional holidays in Victoria.

All of Victoria observes Melbourne Cup Day unless an alternate local holiday is arranged by a non-metropolitan municipality.

These regions seem to change every year. In 2023, for example, Yarriambiack Shire Council celebrated half-day on 7th November but won’t this year.

In 2024, these are the following municipalities which will observe a different public holiday, instead of the Melbourne Cup public holiday:

  • Moyne Shire Council – 2nd May
  • Warrnambool City Council – 2nd May
  • Greater Bendigo City Council – 30th October
  • Macedon Ranges Shire Council – 6th November
  • Wodonga City Council – 29th November

To keep up to date with regional holidays in Victoria, refer to the official government website of Victoria. Dates will be added here when the relevant municipalities confirm them.

How Many Public Holidays In WA?

In Western Australia, 10 national public holidays are observed:

  • New Year’s Day – 1st January
  • Australia Day – 26th January
  • Good Friday  – 29th March
  • Easter Sunday – 31st March
  • Easter Monday – 1st April
  • Anzac Day – 25th April
  • King’s Birthday – 23rd September
  • Labour Day – 4th March
  • Christmas Day – 25th December
  • Boxing Day – 26th December

In Western Australia, the King’s Birthday and Labour Day are celebrated on different days to other states. Also, the Saturday before Easter Sunday is not observed; neither is Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve.

State-wide holidays in Western Australia.

Western Australia has its own public holiday: Western Australia Day, of course!

It’s a day that celebrates all Western Aussies, including its Aboriginal history, European settlers, and other people from across the world who make WA their home.

In 2024, Western Australia Day will be celebrated on the 3rd of June.

Regional holidays in Western Australia.

The only regional holidays observed in Western Australia are alternative dates for the King’s Birthday public holiday. These are substitute public holidays, not additional days.

In 2024, the following regions will celebrate the King’s Birthday on these dates:

  • Town of Port Hedland – 5th August
  • City of Karratha – 5th August

In previous years, the Shire of East Pilbara (Marble Bar) and Shire of East Pilbara (Newman) celebrated the King’s Birthday on a different day. But the last time they did so was in 2020.

Management Summary Of Australian Public Holidays.

This table provides a high-level management summary of public holidays in Australia.

Dates marked with an “X” and highlighted in pink denote where the public holiday is not observed; dates highlighted in yellow show where they differ from most other states.

Please note that this table excludes region-specific holidays, such as those listed above for Northern Territory, New South Wales, Tasmania, Western Australia, Victoria, and Queensland.

At this point, is anyone here considering a move to another state? If you live in Tasmania, you might feel as though you’ve drawn the short straw.

One Queenslander on Reddit suggested they just chuck a sickie to balance things out.

Another said:

“Sickies are essentially movable feasts which can be claimed at any time, for any reason, as you see fit. They can be used to offset any perceived injustices relating to the allocation of state/local holidays.”

Amusing as this comment is, it may be worth reviewing absenteeism across your workforce to see if unplanned absences are impacting your operations during public holidays.

Frequently Asked Questions About Australia Public Holidays.

Here are some frequently asked questions that offer some insight into public holidays in Australia.

How many public holidays in a year are there in Australia?

The term “national public holiday” is confusing for Aussies. For instance, while the Kings’ birthday is considered a national holiday, it takes place on a different day in different states.

And while the official website for Australian tourism suggests that Easter Saturday and Sunday are national holidays, these two public holidays aren’t observed in Tasmania and Western Australia.

Confused?

It seems like everyone is when it comes to the consensus of what constitutes a national public holiday in Australia.

Don’t get too hung up on ambiguous terminology.

There is a total of seven holidays which are celebrated across all states on the exact same day. They are New Year’s Day, Australia Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, ANZAC Day, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day (Proclamation Day in QLD).

Working outside your state or region on a public holiday?

An employee is entitled to the public holidays that fall where they work, not where they are working on the day of the public holiday.

A tradesman couldn’t, for example, just take the day off because he happens to be erecting a fence in Alice Springs on Alice Springs Show Day.

What happens when a public holiday falls on a weekend?

In all states and territories, when Christmas Day, Boxing Day, or New Year’s Day falls on a weekend, the Holidays Act of 1983 allows for an additional public holiday whereby the next weekday is also considered a public holiday.

Although there are exceptions for other public holidays in other states.

For example, in Tasmania, when ANZAC Day falls on Saturday or Sunday, no additional holiday is observed.

When will I find out the date for the Friday before the AFL Grand Final?

The Friday before the AFL Grand Final usually occurs on the last Friday in September.

To confirm the exact date for the AFL schedule release, check this dedicated website, grandfinalday.com.au. Their homepage is updated with the details of the AFL grand final (which takes place on a Saturday).

How do part-day public holidays affect employees? 

In some states, any employee who is usually scheduled to work between 7pm and 12am on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve is entitled to receive public holiday rates based on their Enterprise Award or Agreement.

This applies to the following states for Christmas Eve:

  • Northern Territory
  • Queensland (from 6pm)
  • South Australia

And for New Year’s Eve, this applies to:

  • Northern Territory
  • South Australia

As for the rest? Bah, humbug!

Final Word On Public Holidays In Australia.

If you plan your workload appropriately, you won’t need to apply extra pressure on the workforce to “make up for lost time”.

Employees have earned their right to take a day off – and you won’t build rapport with them if you coerce them into working overtime or through their lunch break.

You might well meet your deadline or fulfil a late batch of customer orders, but what damage might you do to your relationship? What is the cost of having your best performers “quiet quit” on you because you’re acting like a slave driver?

If taking one day off presents you with a plethora of challenges, there is a deeper issue rooted in your business’s operations. The problem isn’t people, it’s processes.

Escalate this to the senior management team.

Tommy

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