Australia’s tourism industry has been buoyed by the Albanese government’s Budget commitment of AU$48 million to support recovery and rebuild over the next four years.
The funding injection, announced on Tuesday, will support marketing, training, and upskilling for the accommodation sector, as well as the upgrade of caravan parks around the country.
“The Government is committed to growing and rebuilding the sector to return to the economic powerhouse we know it to be,” said Minister for Trade and Tourism, the Hon Don Farrell.
Hilton’s Area Vice President APAC and Head of Australasia, Paul Hutton, welcomed government’s commitment to removing barriers for those entering the hospitality sector.
“The tourism industry cannot recover and get back to contributing to Australia’s recovery with a diminished workforce,” he said.
Hutton said Hilton will continue to work with the National Council of the Accommodation Australia, of which he is a board member, and the proposed new industry body Accommodation Australia to provide jobs, foster skills development and showcase tourism as a career.
The Accommodation Association’s training platform The Hub is among those to benefit from AU$10 million committed to training and skills development.
President Leanne Harwood said the funding is a “very welcome shot in the arm” for the recovery of Australia’s Visitor Economy.
“No matter where you go across Australia, the biggest challenge we are all facing as Australia’s Travel and Tourism Sector gets back to normal, is filling the skills shortfall and workforce gap created during COVID,” she said.
“[This funding] will go a long way in helping, educate and re-train the 100,000 staff we need right now including supporting more First Nations Australians, people living with a disability, and older Australians.”
The Accommodation Association and Tourism Accommodation Australia have long been in discussions with government about the skills gap and worker shortage impacting the industry.
“This funding will go a long way to assist with our goals of upskilling existing talent and attracting more people to return to the workforce and share their skills and knowledge,” said TAA CEO Michael Johnson.
“It will also allow us to spotlight the career paths that exist in our sector including to those who perhaps haven’t considered it before and help us rebuild.”
This year’s budget also included a AU$531.6 million investment over four years to expand Paid Parental Leave (PPL) as well as funding for early childhood education and care – a move that was welcomed by many industries.
“We specifically welcome any promise to increase childcare subsidies, knowing that moves to expand parental leave and make this more equitable between parents, is a positive step,” said Hutton.
“A positive step not only towards encouraging more women into the workforce, but also to explore opportunities to enhance their careers that they may have previously felt were closed off to them.
“At Hilton we have enhanced the career promises we make to our team members in recent years. Our ‘typical’ benefits like discounted travel have become even more attractive and we continue to add to this with additional benefits such as flexible working arrangements and wider options to grow your career around the world.”