Queensland hospitality desperate for workers

Townsville restaurateur, Matt Merrin and Member for Hinchinbrook, Nick Dametto.

The hospitality sector in regional Queensland is being forced to cut back on trading hours and in some cases cease trading by a dire shortage of chefs and hospitality workers.

Member for Hinchinbrook, Nick Dametto has written to the Federal Minister for Immigration, Citizenship, Migrant Services and Multicultural Affairs and the Queensland Treasurer raising his concerns and suggesting an incentive scheme and a safe expedited pathway for overseas workers.

“I commend the Government on the ‘holiday here this year’ campaign, many Australians have been getting on board, supporting local businesses and visiting their own backyard.

“Unfortunately, many businesses in regional Queensland aren’t in a position to capitalise on the increased visitation due to the worker shortages.

“Launching an incentive scheme for hospitality workers, similar to the agricultural sector initiatives of ‘Back to work in agriculture incentive scheme’ and ‘Ag Move scheme’ will encourage Australians to relocate to regional Queensland and fill the many vacancies in our hospitality sector.

“This needs to be combined with the Government allowing skilled migrants back into the country to fill these vacancies, through a safe, expedited pathway,” said Mr Dametto.

Townsville restaurateur Matt Merrin would normally operate seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. His popular and well-known restaurant, Jam Corner, has been forced to cut back on trading hours and cease the breakfast service.

“We are currently experiencing a shortage of qualified chefs in the Townsville region. This has immediate affects with reduced operating hours of our restaurant. Not having enough qualified chefs in the region reduces the number of apprentice chefs we can employ to continue to train and develop our chefs for the future.

“The shortage of workers also has implications for our front of house employees due to the reduction of operating hours and shifts.

“Jam Corner offered one of the best breakfast services in Townsville. It is heartbreaking that we have had to cease this service and now locals and visitors are missing out on the experience,” said Matt Merrin.

Nick Dametto MP