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Addressing tourism workforce issues must be top priority for next Government

March 21, 2019 Business News No Comments Email Email

With the 2019 Federal Election on the horizon, Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA), is calling on the major parties to deliver strong policies to address the serious skills shortages being faced by Australia’s accommodation industry.

“TAA is continually hearing about severe skills and labour shortages faced by accommodation businesses across Australia and the significant impact they are having on their ability to operate and grow,” said TAA National Chairman, Martin Ferguson.

“Accommodation businesses looking to fill skilled and managerial positions are facing the most pressure, and with pipeline investment of more than 40,000 rooms across Australia, we can’t afford to have a failing labour force.

“For many years we have highlighted to successive Governments the huge shortfall of labour in our industry and the need for government led programs to address the issue, but we are still waiting to see any proposals around how they might stimulate the workforce.”

Mr Ferguson said the industry, led by TAA, had worked on addressing the industry’s labour challenges including holding Career Expos, particularly to encourage young people to see hospitality as a career choice rather than just a short-term job.  The initiatives also highlighted the broad range of careers available from Sales and Marketing, to Food and Beverage through to Accommodation Management, People and Culture and IT.

“We have run our own campaigns and developed our own programs, but we need a coordinated approach – one that is supported and promoted by strong Government policy.

“Tourism consumption is worth $135bn annually to the Australian economy and that figure is growing rapidly year on year as more people visit both from overseas and domestically, but maintaining this success is dependent on our ability to offer quality service and great places to stay.

“With so many tourism businesses unable to attract qualified staff, we are simply unable to meet the demands not only of today, but for growth into the future.

“Five out of seven states across Australia currently report severe shortages citing challenges such as finding qualified chefs, so we are keen to see new ideas from our political leaders on how they can help.

“The story is simple.  The accommodation sector is one of the major employers in Australia.  It is essential that we create a good supply chain of qualified, committed, long term employees for our industry. If not the potential cost in lost opportunities to the Australian economy will be staggering.”

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