The tourism minister is one step closer to introducing a migrant worker scheme in regional areas to boost the dwindling numbers in the hospitality industry.
Tourism minister, Martin Ferguson met with members of the tourism and hospitality industry last week to discuss the expansion of the Pacific Seasonal Worker program to include tourism jobs in remote and regional areas. These particular jobs are struggling to be filled, especially with the decreasing numbers of international students and the competition they face with mining wages.
Mr Ferguson has asked the government to extend the Pacific Seasonal Worker program to include tourism and hospitality. Currently workers from Vanuatu, Tonga, PNG and Kiribati can work temporarily on Australian farms to help ease labour shortages in horticulture.
Under the proposed scheme, foreign workers would be allowed to enter Australia for employment in a designated tourism or hospitality position. They would receive Australian pay and conditions, but would have to leave the country after a set period.