Visa change could prove quite costly

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Jarred Sfer­ruzzi

A MA­JOR Whit­sun­day ho­tel which has used the 457 visa scheme ex­ten­sively would suf­fer from its abo­li­tion due to a lack of ex­pe­ri­enced Aus­tralian staff to fill hos­pi­tal­ity roles.

The claim was made by Tourism Whit­sun­days board mem­ber and Co­ral Sea Re­sort gen­eral man­ager Greg Waites, who said they strug­gled to get chefs and other qual­i­fied staff to move to Air­lie Beach on a long-term ba­sis.

“Suc­cess­ful kitchens re­quire con­ti­nu­ity, you can’t have a re­volv­ing door,” Mr Waites said.

“Aus­tralians do not want to work in this en­vi­ron­ment for long pe­ri­ods of time con­tin­u­ously, you can­not get some­one will­ing to com­mit for 2-3 years.

“We’ve had in the past a food and bev­er­age man­ager, wed­ding and events co-or­di­na­tor, restau­rant man­ager, we’ve had a front of­fice man­ager, all on 457 visas.

“We have five peo­ple at any given time here on a visa and have had for the past seven years.

“I would have to close my ho­tel, if I didn’t have 457 or Re­gional Spon­sored Mi­gra­tion Scheme visas, truly, I could not op­er­ate.”

He said all of his po­si­tions had been “widely” ad­ver­tised be­fore ac­cess­ing the visa and all staff re­ceived the same salary as Aus­tralians.

These comments were echoed by Tourism Whit­sun­days CEO Craig Turner who said it was dif­fi­cult to at­tract peo­ple with the right skills to re­gional Queens­land.

“I’d like to see more de­tail, to see what jobs re­main, be­cause there may be some real im­pacts on the tourism in­dus­try de­pend­ing on what they deem to be in and what they deem to be out.”

Mr Turner be­lieved the path to res­i­dency of­fered by 457 visas was a con­tribut­ing fac­tor to en­sur­ing work­ers were com­mit­ted to the re­gion they set­tled in.

PHOTO: INGE HANSEN

WARN­ING: Co­ral Sea Re­sort gen­eral man­ager Greg Waites uses 457 visa work­ers be­cause he says he can't find qual­i­fied Aus­tralians to fill the roles.

PHOTO: PETER CARRUTHERS

HELP­ING HAND: Ricky Fal­zon help­ing out his mate Bren­dan Trem­bath af­ter Cy­clone Deb­bie.

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