7000 jobs up for grabs in Northern Territory

The Northern Territory's hospitality industry is 7000 workers short ahead of what will most likely be the busiest tourist season ever.

The widespread worker crisis comes despite the Territory experiencing the biggest jump in the unemployment rate of any Australian jurisdiction, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data released for the month of March.

A survey of Hospitality NT's members has found 97 per cent of businesses are facing a labour shortage crisis, a figure the body's chief executive Alex Bruce has described as "chronic".


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"It is the only issue every one of our businesses is talking about," Mr Bruce said.

"We're the second largest private industry in the Territory, behind mining. If we give a world class performance this year, this means more than Suncable," he said.

Major employers still hunting for workers included the Turf Club, which Mr Bruce said needed 600 workers for its annual cup carnival, and Yulara, near Uluru, which was looking for 100 staff.

Mr Bruce urged the NT government to consider a funding package to lure seasonal workers from around Australia to spend their winter months in the Territory.

"There's jobs everywhere in Territory hospitality. This is a golden opportunity to put the Territory first," he said.

Top End Tourism general manager Glen Hingley described the crisis as a "slow train wreck"

"I'm aware of thousands of positions short," Mr Hingley said.

"Right across the Northern Territory, and in fact in our regions we're feeling it acutely," he said.

"We're facing a slow train wreck in front of us. Australians will be coming to the Top End only to not be able to get the service we're famous for."

"(Operators) are exhausted and we're concerned for their wellbeing."

Mr Hingley said many workers who were reliant on JobKeeper "flew back to Sydney and Melbourne" when the supplement wound up at the end of March.

Among businesses affected by the worker shortage was Hotel Darwin which was still looking to fill three permanent, year-round positions at the popular CBD watering hole.

Hospitality NT chief executive Alex Bruce. Picture: Supplied.
Hospitality NT chief executive Alex Bruce. Picture: Supplied.

"We have put ads up and it's been really hard. We haven't had many applications come through," Hotel Darwin manager Penny Phillips said.

"It's really frustrating, we have room coming into the busy season, we'd like people trained up," Ms Phillips said.

But she said the shortage wasn't unexpected given the lack of international travel.

"I'm not surprised, I know we rely on the backpacker market."

New ABS data released yesterday also showed the NT had seen a 1.2 per cent decline in the number of employed people in March, the worst result of any state or territory.








Originally published as NT hospitality industry 7000 workers short for busiest tourist season ever