By Andrew Starke
The Australian Hotels Association (AHA) has welcomed the start of a political debate over the shortage of chefs and cooks in the hospitality industry and the need for these jobs to again be included in Australia’s skilled migration program.
In his address to the National Press Club today (March 30), the Shadow Minister for Immigration, Scott Morrison MP, highlighted the absurdity of the decision to remove chefs and cooks from the Skilled Occupation List.
Commenting on the issue, AHA National CEO Des Crowe said the removal of chefs and cooks from the Skilled Occupation List was hindering the industry’s ability to operate.
“Hotels are struggling to cope with the critical shortage of chefs and cooks in Australia, and their removal from the Skilled Occupation List has closed another door to sourcing people to fill these positions,” he said.
“At a time of low unemployment and when the industry is struggling to fill the demands of its workforce from the Australian pool of workers the AHA welcomes political debate on the skills and labour requirements of our industry.”
Crowe said the AHA has been working with the Federal Government towards reinstating chefs and cooks onto the Skilled Occupation List.
State and Territory Governments have also been asked to ensure these important positions are on regional-based lists.
“Through our involvement in the Labour and Skills Working Group under the Government’s Long Term Tourism Strategy, we have contributed to the presentation of a business case for the reinstatement of chefs onto the Skilled Occupation List,” he said.
“This business case is being considered by the Federal Government and we are hopeful of a positive response.
“The inclusion of chefs in Australia’s skilled migration program is supported by the Federal Tourism Minister and by state and territory Tourism Ministers.
“Addressing this area of skills shortage is acknowledged by governments around the country as critical to the ability of the tourism industry to deliver on its growth potential.
“In meeting the labour requirements of the hospitality industry impediments to attracting overseas chefs and cooks need to be addressed.”