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Views split on consistent school holiday push

Date

Tom McIlroy and Fleta Page

Karl Adamson of Kambah. Click for more photos

Would you like to see ACT and NSW school holidays aligned?

What you say: Would you like to see ACT and NSW school holidays aligned? Photo: Fleta Page

A push by the ACT and NSW governments to minimise inconsistent school holiday dates has received a mixed response from Canberra families and NSW tourism providers.

Popular South Coast tourism towns benefit from extended school holiday periods under existing arrangements, with any change for the next five-year calendar set to affect staffing levels and occupancy rates.

On Friday, Fairfax Media reported the NSW Government official responsible for dealing with cross-border challenges had identified inconsistent school holiday periods as a ''critical issue''.

NSW Cross-Border Commissioner Steve Toms was told that inconsistent school holiday scheduling made it difficult for families to arrange holidays or child-minding.

Durras Lake North Holiday Park owner Peter Counsell said the existing arrangements had benefits for families and the tourism sector.

''If they are both combined together you get a lot of pressure from both states vying for sometimes limited accommodation,'' he said.

''What happens is the first week is purely NSW, which gives them a good chance and then the second week is both. That is where bookings are quite heavy because you've often got a long weekend as well.

''In the third week it is just ACT people and they have a far better chance of getting accommodation.''

Mr Counsell said the extended holiday period allowed him to roster staff on for more working hours and contribute to the local economy.

''I know a lot of Canberra people wait for their second week because they know the NSW and Victoria people will have gone back.''

Queanbeyan mother Michelle Hayes said consistent timing of school holidays would make life a lot easier.

''I work full-time, my sister-in-law looks after the kids over school holidays and it makes it hard for the two of us when her kids are on school holidays and mine aren't,'' she said.

''I think Australia should have all their school holidays at the same time.''

Mr Toms told an ACT Assembly committee inquiry into regional development this week that NSW and territory public education authorities had agreed to consult each other when setting term dates.

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