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Australian Regional Tourism adds voice to fears over skills and workforce shortages

Australian Regional Tourism adds voice to fears over skills and workforce shortages
September 22, 2021

Australian Regional Tourism has today called for Federal Government leadership to address the issue of skills and workforce shortages, which it says will be “the next crisis to hit the regions”.

The peak national body representing regional tourism practitioners says skills and workforce shortages across regional Australia will restrict business recovery as the easing of lockdown restrictions apply, and the rebuilding of what was once an industry worth $138 billion, attributing to one in 12 jobs nationally, and closer to one in six jobs in some regions.

Australian Regional Tourism (ART) Chair, Coralie Bell explained “the regional tourism industry has been calling on the Federal Government to address skills and workforce shortages in regions as a key national priority since 2017, warning that there will soon be a breaking point, we are furious that after so many years, we’re still having the same conversation.

“Regional Australia needs a National Framework to address skills and workforce shortages now. We have states reporting that some regions are expecting record numbers on the easing of COVID restrictions, while industry is reporting they can’t open their doors because they don’t have staff.

“Let me be very clear. Our industry is facing the largest national skills and workforce shortage in living memory. This is not new. This was true before COVID and it remains so now, more than ever. Make no mistake, we may have visitors in some towns, but many businesses won’t have staff to serve them food or clean their rooms. This is real. Without people in hospitality, service and tour delivery, we have no tourism industry.

“Effective leadership is needed to pull states and territories together and face our way out of this pandemic as one country.”

Bell added that ART is calling on the Federal Government to step up and deliver a National Framework to address skills and workforce shortages and enable business recovery.

Image: Barossa Valley Balloon Adventures.

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