Minister addresses labour issues

December 22, 2015

The Minister for Tourism, Senator Colbeck, has taken notice of the industry’s calls for greater liberalisation of temporary work visas to address the Australian tourism and hotel industry’s skills shortages.

He raised the issues at an industry forum attended by TAA, saying: “We’ve got a skill shortage of about 38,000 to 40,000 at the moment and its projected to go out to 125,000 by 2020. How do we fill that?

We’re looking at some work around that at the moment and when you look at the demand for highly skilled people not just here in Australia but out into the region, and talking to my counterparts in Indonesia three weeks ago they’ve got a significant demand for labour as well. So we’re competing in a global market for that labour and if we want to continue to grow as we’re projecting we need to have the resources to be able to do that. And labour is our most important asset in that space, our people are absolutely vital to the quality tourism experience that we want to provide here in Australia.”

The first indications that talk was being translated into action occurred when the Government announced more flexible temporary visa arrangements for workers in northern Australia, and we are advocating strongly for that process to be extended to the rest of Australia, as the majority of the new hotels are in cities and operators are already reporting considerable shortages in skilled staff.