Tourism Accommodation Australia National Chaiman, Martin Ferguson.

Encouraging young people to see hospitality as a career option as opposed to a short-term job is now at crisis point, with Tourism Accommodation Australia urging both major parties to make the skills shortage a priority election issue.

Ahead of the imminent 2019 federal election, TAA National Chair and former federal Minister for Tourism, Martin Ferguson, has urged both Labor and the Coalition to develop strong policies favouring the current skills shortage being faced by the Australian accommodation industry.

Ferguson said the TAA was constantly hearing examples of how hotels and related industry businesses were struggling to operate and grow due to a lack of suitable and skilled workers in the labour pool.

“Accommodation businesses looking to fill skilled and managerial positions are facing the most pressure, and with pipeline investment of more than 40,000 rooms across Australia, we can’t afford to have a failing labour force,” Ferguson said.

Career Expos championed by the TAA and industry have taken place independent of government, Ferguson added, which highlighted the opportunities available in fields such as Food & Beverage, Human Resources, Technology and Property Management. However, the TAA National Chair said this needed further backing from the government in the form of coordinated campaigns to stimulate the workforce.

“With so many tourism businesses unable to attract qualified staff, we are simply unable to meet the demands not only of today but for growth into the future,” Ferguson said.

“Five out of seven states across Australia currently report severe shortages citing challenges such as finding qualified chefs, so we are keen to see new ideas from our political leaders on how they can help.”