By Andrew Starke
The Australian Hotels Association (WA) has welcomed a decision by Federal Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson, to expand the Pacific Seasonal Worker Pilot Scheme but said it did not go far enough.
The initiative aims to assist the hospitality and tourism industries in Western Australia with addressing the skills shortage currently being experienced.
AHA(WA) CEO, Bradley Woods, said the hospitality and tourism sector required urgent action across numerous areas to meet the demand for semi-skilled workers.
“It is very positive to see the Federal Government implementing initiatives that will assist in meeting some of the requirements of the hospitality and tourism industries in Western Australia,” Woods said.
“We would also like to see the urgent implementation of a semi-skilled visa category for workers from developed countries such as those located within the United Kingdom, Ireland and mainland Europe.
“An expansion of the working holiday visa is also critical for the WA hospitality and tourism sectors to ensure we are able to provide the highest possible standards of experience and customer service.”
Woods said a WA State Government-led delegation to the UK and Ireland clearly highlighted the high levels of interest people have to work in WA on a temporary basis.
“There are mutual benefits in implementing a semi skilled visa category on a temporary basis,” he said.
”The hospitality and tourism culture in countries like Ireland, in particular, is strong as is the demand for people wanting to come to WA.”
Woods added that the AHA would continue to lobby the Federal Government in relation to the implementation of a semi-skilled visa category and the expansion of the working holiday visa scheme.