Voice of Real Australia: Seasonal staff frozen out of the land of snows | Newcastle Herald

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Voice of Real Australia is ACM’s regular newsletter, which has reporters in every state and territory. Sign up here to receive it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. I went to Jindabyne a few weeks ago – the last town before the main New South Wales snowfields, Perisher and Thredbo – to report on the housing crisis and staff shortage facing the town is facing. The flip side of the growth experienced by regional cities is that the housing stock is limited. In addition to this, in Jindabyne there are many houses that are investment houses that generate good returns in the AirBnb market. It’s like a lot of tourist towns in this regard. The paradox of these places is what makes them so attractive to tourists – the breweries, the coffee shops, the charming country pubs – also makes them unmanageable. So baristas, bartenders and chefs often struggle to find affordable housing, resulting in a situation where most businesses in the city are looking for staff. This is the situation I found in Jindabyne when I was there preparing for this week’s Voice of Real Australia podcast. Lots of work, few people. Jindy also generally relies on international workers, coming to work during the season and to ski in their spare time. They’re not there, of course, which leads to a situation where every business I’ve visited is looking for multiple team members to start immediately. So this is their first problem. But now they face another. As of this writing, millions of Australians are under some sort of lockdown. That’s a lot of potential skiers. After weeks of preparing for a busy season with a reduced staff, they now have, in the middle of the school holidays, the opposite problem and cannot find any tasks for the staff they have. And once the restrictions are lifted, they will be overrun again, but may have lost workers during the lockdown. I have the impression that their confidence has been shaken. Their business models are under attack on several fronts. How can you run a business under the looming threat of lockdowns? Where will they find staff when people are allowed out again? Domestic tourism at all levels has been hit by the whim of the virus. But those who rely on the vagaries of snowfall only have 12 weeks, 16 if they’re lucky, to make the most of trade peaks. It’s complicated, and no one seems to have an answer so far. The pandemic has had a huge impact, and unfortunately bigger issues don’t just make other issues go away. It’s a cumulative effect. One of the people I spoke to – a cafe owner – has a request for people coming to visit us this year: things might take a little longer, but be patient. To learn more about the situation, tune in to our Voice of Real Australia podcast. Listen and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or your favorite podcast platform. Just search for Voice of Real Australia. If you want to filter all the latest information until a late afternoon read, why not sign up for The Informer newsletter?



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