A critical labour shortage in hospitality and accommodation will derail the recovery of Mildura’s pubs, cafes, hotels and motels unless the Victorian Government steps up to help fix it.
The pandemic has ravaged Victoria’s hospitality and accommodation sectors, with lockdowns forcing tens of thousands of jobs to be axed while many other workers exited the industry in search of more certain work.
After consultation with the sector, on Friday The Nationals announced a push for a $1000 sign on bonus to be offered to new employees hired in regional Victorian hospitality or accommodation businesses until June 2022.
Leader of The Nationals Peter Walsh said venues will miss out on having the best chance to quickly revive their business if they couldn’t get enough staff to meet demand.
“For workers in these sectors, it’s been an impossible two years of waking up every morning not knowing if you’ll have a job by the end of the day,” Mr Walsh said.
“After so much uncertainty, it’s no wonder our hard-hit hospitality and accommodation sectors are now feeling the pain of staff shortages as our communities move to reopen, recover and rebuild.
“Months of unviable patron limits, closures of domestic and international borders, and now staff shortages – worsened by a lack of international students and backpackers – leaves many venues and accommodation providers crying out for new, positive ideas to bring workers back.
“The State Government can lend a helping hand by offering an incentive of $500 after 10 days work within a 30-day period and a further $500 after another 30 days’ work in a 90-day period.”
The incentive would be funded through the State’s $250 million Jobs Victoria Fund.
Shadow Minister for Gaming and Liquor Regulation Steph Ryan said there should be a similar offering for people looking to work in Melbourne of two instalments of $250.
“Labor’s lockdowns decimated Victoria’s hospitality and accommodation industries by forcing tens of thousands of workers to find other work,” Ms Ryan said.
“We need new, positive ideas to bring workers back and revive our struggling hospitality and accommodation businesses so they can quickly get back on their feet.”
The call follows the release of The Nationals’ Local Events Recovery Plan which is aimed at supporting the COVID Safe return of local events.
It included a new $140 million Local Events Insurance Scheme to cover the cost of the potential cancellation of events from $20,000 up to $10 million, plus a new $20 million Local Events Attraction Fund to revive events in regional and rural communities.