The Northern Territory is offering thousands of dollars to help attract hospitality and tourism workers to the Top End of Australia ahead of the coming dry season.
The Territory traditionally relies on seasonal workers, international students, and working holidaymakers to fill the roles during the busy tourist season.
But COVID-19 travel restrictions have left many businesses with a critical worker shortfall, the NT government says.
It’s offering $2 million support funding to attract workers to the NT, including travel and accommodation reimbursements, and upskilling opportunities.
“We have listened to local industry and we know they’re struggling to find workers,” NT Minister for Jobs and Training Paul Kirby said.
“This package will attract interstate workers to the Territory, to work in tourism and hospitality across the busy dry season.”
Funding will also be available to NT workers wanting to boost their skills with free short courses, such as the responsible service of alcohol and tour guiding.
Businesses will be able to apply for grants of up to $20,000, or $1,500 per new employee, to help cover costs associated with attracting them to jobs.
English literacy training will also be made available for hospitality and tourism workers.
Australia’s tourism-reliant regions have struggled during the pandemic without the usual numbers of international visitors spending money.
The federal government’s Jobseeker program cushioned the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic by subsidising employers $1,500 per employee, per fortnight. The program ran for almost one year but ended in March.
Jobkeeper meant that employees could still receive an income from employers during the lockdowns but was a temporary measure.
The Australian government has also implemented measures to bring in seasonal workers from the Pacific Islands to help the fruit picking industry.
By Aaron Bunch. Caden Pearson contributed to this report.