Budget serves up boost for hospitality

12th May 2021 | Eativity editors

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 food service 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.

The hospitality sector is facing critical workforce shortages.

“The accommodation and food services sector continues to be the worst-affected sector of our economy jobs-wise, with ABS data showing that our workforce is 11.2 percent smaller today than it was in March 2020,” Lambert says

This is despite more job advertisements being available today than ever before, and predictions showing 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.

The Boosting Apprenticeships Commencements program has been expanded.

Lambert has also praised the additional $1.7 billion investment in childcare as 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, in conjunction with recent visa changes, will mean hospitality businesses can stay open for longer, creating more jobs and helping them recover faster.”

With 93 percent of the restaurant, cafe and catering sector considered small businesses, R&CA also welcomed last night’s budget as one that delivers a suite of measures designed to help small business owners as they continue to recover.

“These measures are fantastic news for small businesses, delivering significant support as they navigate Australia’s economic recovery,” Lambert says. “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.”