The Gold Coast Bulletin

HOSPITALIT­Y BOSSES CHEER FOREIGN AID

- CRYSTAL FOX

GOLD Coast hospitalit­y operators struggling to staff to their rosters are cheering the federal government move to axe a cap on hours foreign students can work.

Internatio­nal students had been prevented from working more than 40 hours a fortnight but in this week’s budget it was removed for jobs in hospitalit­y and tourism.

It was anticipate­d freeing up internatio­nal workers would help relieve staff shortage in those fields which have been felt strongly on the Gold Coast.

Broadbeach hospitalit­y king Pat Gennari, who owns Koi, the Roosevelt Lounge, Loose Moose and Marina Mirage’s Glass, said freeing up foreign students to work more hours would help operators.

Mr Gennari said 30 per cent of his workforce pre-COVID were internatio­nal.

“If internatio­nal students can work more it will be great for us,” he said.

“Everyone is struggling for staff right now.”

Speaking generally, Mr Gennari said internatio­nal borders needed to reopen to really help the economy: “I think everyone is still going to struggle because there is not enough people here.”

Mr Gennari who has high hopes of starting a beach-edge operation added: “Start making the Gold Coast exciting so there is a reason for people to travel to the Gold Coast.

“We aren't using the Gold Coast to its full potential.”

Small bar operator Scott Imlach said he had been struggling to fill rosters.

“It’s going to help us out a lot,” Mr Imlach said.

“We’ll be able to give them (internatio­nal students) more hours.”

Budget funding included an $8m two-year campaign aimed at encouragin­g support of local and family businesses.

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