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The Pom Queen

Chefs Wanted in Australia

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The McGowan government’s ­decision to tear up the list that fast-tracked overseas workers to Western Australia has made it tough for Margaret River’s wineries and restaurants to put meals on customers’ plates during their peak new year trade. 

There are simply too few local chefs and trained kitchen staff to cope, says Amelia Park Tavern’s resident chef Gary Wilkins, who moved to Margaret River eight years ago for the relaxed lifestyle.

“We’re struggling to get help and there’s a limited number of good local chefs,” he says. It has taken the importation of seven temporary chefs, one flown in from Sydney, to keep operating Amelia Park’s kitchen.

“It costs management a lot more money to get people in,” Wilkins said. The labour cost — more than double the normal rate of about $25-$30 an hour — can reach nearly $100 an hour in some cases, when labour-hire company fees are included.

Shortly after taking office, Premier Mark McGowan made good on an election promise to slash occupations that could be filled by overseas workers. He said changed economic conditions required local jobs to be kept open for the more than 90,000 unemployed West Australians, but his government’s cuts to the eligible skills list — from 170 occupations to 18, none of them hospitality jobs — has left the sector shorthanded.

The government also withdrew Perth as a destination from the Regional Sponsored ­Migration Scheme, which offers incentives to lure foreign visa holders to less populated areas.

Opposition tourism spokeswoman Libby Mettam said Perth’s hospitality industry was having difficulties recruiting staff as a result. “This is the first Christmas season for the hospitality and service industry where the impact of this shortsighted and ill-advised move is being felt,” she said.

The changes have hit just as a wave of new hotels, bars and restaurants is helping to diversify WA’s resource-dominated economy. And with direct flights due to start between Perth and London, and Asian tourism on the rise, good hospitality staff “is high on the list of needs”, she said.

“From a tourism perspective, there is no second chance in making an excellent first impression.”


If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.

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1 hour ago, The Pom Queen said:

The McGowan government’s ­decision to tear up the list that fast-tracked overseas workers to Western Australia has made it tough for Margaret River’s wineries and restaurants to put meals on customers’ plates during their peak new year trade. 

There are simply too few local chefs and trained kitchen staff to cope, says Amelia Park Tavern’s resident chef Gary Wilkins, who moved to Margaret River eight years ago for the relaxed lifestyle.

“We’re struggling to get help and there’s a limited number of good local chefs,” he says. It has taken the importation of seven temporary chefs, one flown in from Sydney, to keep operating Amelia Park’s kitchen.

“It costs management a lot more money to get people in,” Wilkins said. The labour cost — more than double the normal rate of about $25-$30 an hour — can reach nearly $100 an hour in some cases, when labour-hire company fees are included.

Shortly after taking office, Premier Mark McGowan made good on an election promise to slash occupations that could be filled by overseas workers. He said changed economic conditions required local jobs to be kept open for the more than 90,000 unemployed West Australians, but his government’s cuts to the eligible skills list — from 170 occupations to 18, none of them hospitality jobs — has left the sector shorthanded.

The government also withdrew Perth as a destination from the Regional Sponsored ­Migration Scheme, which offers incentives to lure foreign visa holders to less populated areas.

Opposition tourism spokeswoman Libby Mettam said Perth’s hospitality industry was having difficulties recruiting staff as a result. “This is the first Christmas season for the hospitality and service industry where the impact of this shortsighted and ill-advised move is being felt,” she said.

The changes have hit just as a wave of new hotels, bars and restaurants is helping to diversify WA’s resource-dominated economy. And with direct flights due to start between Perth and London, and Asian tourism on the rise, good hospitality staff “is high on the list of needs”, she said.

“From a tourism perspective, there is no second chance in making an excellent first impression.”

Who ever trusted a pollie with economic decisions, populism rules A o/k

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