Message from the CEO
Two key governments have finally scrapped the restrictions on household contacts (Victoria and New South Wales - we look forward to other States and Territories following the lead of NSW and VIC and lifting restrictions). The isolation rules have been wreaking havoc on rosters of our members and hampered a lot of properties from reaching full potential across the Easter period.
The Easter break was busy period for our members but also a reminder of the high cost of labour with pay for casual employees who work on a public holiday being paid at the rate of double time and three quarters (275%) of the ordinary/base rate of pay. That’s equivalent to paying an eye watering extra 5.25 days’ pay for the three public holidays. That extra burden of costs eats into the business margin and as a result a lot of restaurants are closing on Public Holidays, which is terrible for the tourism experience.
With the opening of international borders, we are cautiously optimistic about recovery during 2022, not a full recovery by any means but it is certainly heading in the right direction. Fully vaccinated international visitors have been able to travel to Australia from February 21 2022, almost two years after visitors were locked out of the country in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The biggest concern that lingers is the availability of human resources to help us deliver the accommodation products and services that our customers are looking for. The absent markets of corporate, conference and wholesale are slowly starting to show interest again and will start booking and we need all properties to operate at full capacity, not limited or capped due to a lack of labour supply.
This issue is the key advocacy position for the AAoA with governments, making sure the pathway for workers is unobstructed, whether it be immigration of skilled workers, our own employment programs in the HUB with a clear channel to long term employment in our industry.
In other welcome news, the Federal government announced that for 2022-23 only, there will be a 30 per cent cap increase to the number of places available to working holiday makers from countries with which Australia has a capped Work and Holiday (subclass 462) visa arrangement. This one-off cap increase will commence from 1 July 2022. This is in addition to the initiative for WHMs working in any sector anywhere in Australia may continue to work for the same employer or organisation for longer than six months without requesting permission. This arrangement will be in place until 31 December 2022 when it will be reviewed by the Government. We appreciate when government make these decisions as it expands the availability of labour through sensible policy making and we will advocate for this measure to extend beyond December 2022. .
I missed the deadline for last month’s edition of KNU, but I would like to acknowledge outgoing Councillors Simon McGrath and Heidi Kunkel who both made a significant contribution to our organisation and the wider industry and welcome Sarah Derry (Accor) and Paul Hutton (Hilton) to the Council of the Accommodation Association. All Councillors work for the industry on a voluntary basis, and we thank all of them for their continued effort and leadership as we head to amalgamation with the AHA and TAA.