Section 4 of the Public Holidays Act 2010 (the Act) declares the standard public holidays that apply in NSW. On 31 December 2011 the section was amended pursuant to Schedule 2.2 of the Act to declare the following standard public holidays for NSW which will operate from January 2012 onwards:
New Year’s Day is a national public holiday. Celebrations commence in most capital cities on 31st December, with festivities and fireworks at midnight to welcome in the New Year.
In NSW when New Year’s Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the following Monday is declared a public holiday.
Australia Day is a national holiday that is held on 26 January each year. In NSW when Australia Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, there is to be no public holiday on that day and instead the following Monday is declared a public holiday.
This public holiday recognises the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, a group of 11 ships that sailed from England to establish a colony in Australia.
Australia Day celebrations cover Australia Day Honours and Australian of the Year Awards. It is also a popular time for Citizenship ceremonies for people wanting to become Australians.
Good Friday and Easter Monday are two national public holidays.
Easter Saturday and Easter Sunday are the two days between Good Friday and Easter Monday. These two days are currently designated as public holidays in NSW.
Anzac Day is a national day of recognition and commemoration of the contribution of all those who have served Australia (including those who died) in time of war and in war-like conflicts.
ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and was first used when Australian and New Zealand soldiers were grouped in Egypt, prior to their landing at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915.
The Queen's Birthday public holiday is a national public holiday and recognises the birthday of the British Monarch and is celebrated on the second Monday in June each year in NSW.
The Labour Day public holiday is a national public holiday and is a celebration of the progress of the Australian Labor Movement, both politically and industrially, and its achievement in progressively obtaining a reduction in the hours of work to eight hours per day. In NSW Labour Day is observed each year on the first Monday of October.
Christmas Day is a Christian celebration in commemoration of the birth of Jesus and is generally listed as a national public holiday. In NSW when Christmas Day falls on a Saturday an additional public holiday is declared on the following Monday. When Christmas Day falls on a Sunday an additional public holiday is declared on the following Tuesday.
Boxing Day is a national public holiday and its origins are believed to be British and relate to the practice of the wealthy giving gifts of money, food or goods to the poor. In NSW when Boxing Day falls on a Saturday an additional public holiday is declared on the following Monday. When Boxing Day falls on a Sunday an additional public holiday is declared on the following Tuesday.
NSW local public holidays or local event days
In addition to these listed main public holidays which cover the whole of New South Wales, there are also opportunities for regional holidays, known as local public holidays or local event days, which are granted usually at the request of a council within a local government area for a whole day or a part-day.
These are requested to commemorate a day of special significance to the local community in the area concerned.
There are no shop trading restrictions on these NSW local public holiday/local event days. However, banks located within an area which has had a local public holiday declared must close on the holiday unless approval to open on the day has been granted by the Secretary.