Budget serves up boost for hospitality
Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA) – the peak industry body representing more than 45,000 cafes, restaurants and catering businesses across Australia – has hailed the federal government’s 2021-22 budget as one that puts hospitality at the head of the recovery table.
R&CA CEO Wes Lambert says that measures announced as part of the budget will help address critical problems affecting the recovery of the foodservice sector, including staff shortages, stimulating demand, providing a pathway to international border re-opening and ensuring small businesses get the help and support they need to recover from COVID-19.
Jobs going begging
“The accommodation and food services sector continues to be the worst-affected sector of our economy jobs-wise,” Lambert says. “ABS data shows that our workforce is 11.2 percent smaller today than it was in March 2020.”
This is despite more job advertisements being available today than ever before. Predictions currently show double-digit employment growth in the sector over the next five years.
“There are tens of thousands of jobs available right now across the hospitality sector,” Lambert says. “This budget will help to get more Australians into those jobs.”
The expansion of Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements, delivering a further 170,000 new apprentices via a wage subsidy paid to businesses who take on a new apprentice, plus expansion of the JobTrainer Fund to fund a further 163,000 training places, aims to help fill the crippling staff shortage that currently exists across the hospitality sector.
On the road to recovery
Lambert has also praised the additional $1.7 billion investment in childcare. He says it’s a sensible way to get more working parents into jobs to turbo-charge our economic recovery.
“This measure will see thousands of working parents be able to pick up a local job working in a cafe, restaurant or catering business,” he says.
“These measures, as well as recent visa changes, will mean hospitality businesses can stay open for longer. This will create more jobs while helping businesses recover faster.”
Ninety-three percent of the restaurant, cafe and catering sector are considered small businesses. The R&CA has also hailed last night’s budget as one that delivers a suite of measures designed to help small business owners recover.
“These measures are great news for small business,” Lambert says. “They deliver significant support as we navigate Australia’s economic recovery. The 2021-22 budget doesn’t just get our sector a seat in the dining room; it puts us at the head of the recovery table.”