ACT / Australian Capital Territory public holiday dates 2020 – 2022
This page provides a list of national and regional public holidays that are celebrated in the ACT for 2020 and beyond.
The table below sets out public holiday dates observed by the ACT for 2020, 2021 and 2022:
|New Year’s Day||Wednesday|
|Australia Day Holiday||Monday|
|Declared Public Holiday||Monday|
*As Australia Day falls on a Sunday in 2020, the following Monday is observed as the public holiday.
**27 April 2020 is in addition to the ANZAC Day public holiday on 25 April 2020.
***Boxing Day falls on a Saturday in 2020. An additional public holiday is observed on the Monday.
^ANZAC Day falls on a Sunday in 2021. The following Monday is observed as the public holiday.
^^Christmas Day falls on a Saturday in 2021. There is an additional public holiday observed on the Monday.
^^^Boxing Day falls on a Sunday in 2021. There is an additional public holiday observed on the Tuesday.
~As New Years Day falls on a Saturday in 2022, the following Monday is observed as an additional public holiday.
~~As Christmas Day falls on a Sunday in 2022, an additional public holiday is observed on the Tuesday.
Source information for ACT public holiday dates
Australian Capital Territory / ACT public and bank holidays are prescribed by the Holidays Act 1958.
ACT public holidays are administered by the Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate.
What to know about ACT public holiday dates
There are thirteen public holidays observed in the ACT each year. This includes eleven official national public holidays along with two that are unique to the ACT.
The following public holidays are unique to the ACT
- Canberra Day
- Reconciliation Day
The Australian Capital Territory also celebrates Queen’s Birthday and Labour Day. However, neither of these public holidays are unique to the ACT alone.
ACT Canberra Day public holiday
Canberra Day is a public holiday that is only observed in the ACT. Like many other jurisdictional public holidays, it allows for a long weekend as it falls on the second Monday in March.
Canberra Day celebrates the official naming of Canberra, by Lady Denman, wife of Governor-General Lord Denman. In 2007, the holiday was brought forward by one week in order to closer match the actual naming date of 12 March 1913.
The following three Canberra Day public holidays are as follows:
- Monday, 9th March, 2020
- Monday, 8th March, 2021
- Monday, 14th March, 2022
ACT Reconciliation Day public holiday
ACT Reconciliation Day marks the start of National Reconciliation Week. This public holiday is held on the 27th May, if it is a Monday. Otherwise, it is held on the first Monday after this date. The aim of this unique ACT public holiday is to celebrate indigenous culture and history as well as foster discussions for further reconciliation efforts.
Reconciliation Day is a relatively new holiday. It was first observed on 28th May 2018.
The following three Reconciliation Day public holidays are as follows:
- Monday, 1st June, 2020
- Monday, 31st May, 2021
- Monday, 30th May, 2022
Different types of public holidays in ACT
There are just two types of public holidays in the Australian Capital Territory – national and territory holidays. Not surprisingly, given its size, the ACT does not celebrate regional holidays.
National public holidays: These are ACT public holidays which are also recognised throughout all Australian states and territories. Christmas Day, Boxing Day and Australia Day are all examples of national public holidays.
Territory-wide ACT public holidays: These are holidays which are specific to the ACT / Canberra. For example, Reconciliation Day and Canberra Day are public holidays unique to the Australian Capital Territory.
The timing of ACT public holidays
Snow can fall anytime from Easter onward, near the ACT in the Victorian Alps, but the official opening of the ski season is typically the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
With Reconciliation Day and Queen’s Birthday falling just one to two weeks apart, local Canberrans are afforded two long weekends to head to the skifields in quick succession. Conveniently, both long weekends fall in the middle of the ACT school term, creating mini-breaks for family getaways.
Visiting ACT during a public holiday
The Australian Capital Territory welcomes visitors year round, and it’s equally charming in Summer along with winter.
However, Spring, between September to November is a particularly popular time to visit Canberra. Labour Day in early October presents the best long weekend opportunity to explore the sights and sounds of Canberra, including a visit to the numerous museums and war memorials.
With the ACT being so small, a public holiday can be an opportune time to visit. After all, many ACT locals travel to New South Wales or Victoria during public holidays.
Are businesses in the ACT open on public holidays?
ACT businesses are not subject to restricted trading hours on public holidays. This includes Monday, January 27 (Australia Day in 2020). Where Australia Day falls on January 26, normal unrestricted Sunday trading shall apply.
Some ACT services may operate an amended schedule for public holidays. Check with individual businesses and services for more information.
ACT school holiday and term dates
If you’re looking for 2020 school holiday and school term dates for the ACT, you can view them here.