Industry associations have welcomed a pledge by the Australian Government to subsidise the wage bill of up to 100,000 apprentices and trainees as a helpful move for struggling hotels to arrest the declining rate of new workers.
Outlined in last night’s Federal Budget, the government will spend AUD$1.2 billion to help Australian businesses provide entry level employment and training, with the subsidy to cover up to 50% of the employee’s wages up to $7,000 per quarter until September next year. The expanded program began last Saturday and will remain valid until the 100,000 cap is reached.
Further initiatives announced include the JobMaker program which will credit businesses with up to $200 per week towards the salaries of people aged 16-35 who are removed from the JobSeeker allowance, provided they work a minimum of 20 hours per week.
The ‘Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements’ pledge builds on a similar program extended in July which rewarded businesses already maintaining employment for apprentices during the pandemic.
Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said the government has been focused on supporting and creating jobs for its economic rebuild.
“Already 760,000 jobs that were either lost or reduced to zero hours as the COVID crisis hit, have come back into our economy. We want to continue to recover what has been lost and get young people into work.”
Hospitality is one of the industries in place to benefit significantly from the government incentive, with the move welcomed by Tourism Accommodation Australia CEO, Michael Johnson.
“This new subsidy extends to small, medium and large sized businesses and it will hopefully see hundreds of new apprentices and trainees come into our industry as we work on our road to recovery,” he said.
“The hotel and hospitality industry is always looking for more chefs and we will need more than 16,000 in the next five years.”
In 2019, food service industries employed more than 11,000 apprentices, of which 5,400 were new to the sector entirely.
“This new subsidy extends to small, medium and large sized businesses and it will hopefully see hundreds of new apprentices and trainees come into our industry as we work on our road to recovery,” Johnson added.
“We welcome the emphasis on jobs in last night’s Budget and accommodation hotels are ready to play our role in getting more Australians back to work.”
Accommodation Association CEO, Dean Long, also praised the Budget’s critical cash flow and the additional round of the Building Better Regions Fund.
“The stand out measure is a critical cash flow injection for the accommodation sector and the Loss Carry Forward provisions although we do need some clarification as to how it will work across multiple financial years,” Long said.
“We welcome the fact that Tourism Australia will be able to ramp up domestic marketing and be strongly positioned to commence international marketing when the time is right,” he added.