Tourism accommodation hubs to trial foreign labour
22/06/2012 - Workers from East Timor and Pacific nations will soon be able to get seasonal tourism jobs in Australia's north under a three-year trial.
The trial, due to begin on July 1, will include motels, serviced apartments and other tourist accommodation businesses in Broome, across the Northern Territory, Kangaroo Island, north Queensland and the Whitsundays.
Federal tourism minister Martin Ferguson says it builds on a pilot scheme whereby 12 East Timorese were given work and training experience in Broome.
Ferguson said the three-year trial in the regional tourism areas would help to ease labour shortages.
"The tourism industry is facing a shortage of some 36,000 workers," he said in a statement,
"Labour shortages are particularly problematic in seasonal areas with small workforces and peak tourist periods such as Australia's tropical regions in the winter months, and Kangaroo Island over summer."
Operators who gain approved employer status will be able to hire workers for between 14 weeks and six months, but must show they have given first priority to Australians.
"Ensuring the tourism industry has the workforce it needs, when it needs, it can be the difference between a regional area having services open or closed to the public during peak season," Ferguson said.
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