Family & Community Day is a public holiday celebrated only in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). It doesn’t mark any historical or religious event, its purpose is to provide a holiday for people to to take a break from work and perhaps spend quality time with their family and friends at the start of Spring.
The ACT Minister for Industrial Relations has stated that the purpose of the public holiday is: “…to enable workers to take a break from their hectic working lives”, adding “… Australians do work the longest hours of any country in the western world. We do deserve a break.”
The first Family and Community Day only began in 2007. For that year, and in 2008 and 2009, the public holiday coincided with Melbourne Cup Day in November. There were problems because the holiday occurred on a Tuesday and many people took a four-day-weekend by taking the Monday off as well. This effected many businesses, especially catering ones who reported lost income as customers stayed away. From 2010 the holiday was moved to the first Monday in the September/October school holidays, unless it coincided with the Labour Day holiday, in which case it is transferred to the following Monday.
Australians don’t really need too much help in being told how to enjoy a day off but to help them along the ACT government works with unions to organize events for families to attend together.