Employers say they’re desperate for workers but are unable to fill vacancies because Aussies have become too accustomed to government benefits.
Businesses across Western Australia say ongoing weekly payments like JobSeeker and JobKeeper have reduced the incentive for people to remain in full time work.
The government unemployment scheme, coupled with hard border closures has left employers on the west coast feeling the pinch.
The hospitality, childcare and accommodation sectors are all struggling to hire staff.
Pete Firth from Froth Brewing in Exmouth said people are treating the pandemic like it’s a holiday because of the cushy payments.
‘Understandably, people are experiencing what they call the ‘Scomo’s surf team’ and they’re being paid to cruise around the state or wherever they want to and enjoy the remuneration of a pretty healthy weekly payment,’ he told the West.
While the local tourism boom has led to a 40 per cent boost in business for the Brewery, it has left Mr Firth struggling to find staff.
The same issue is being seen across across Western Australia’s accommodation sector.
The Kimberley Accommodation Group has been forced to cut back its hours and use labour hire to give exhausted workers a rest amid the staff shortage.
Staff shortages are also affecting hoteliers across Broome, Halls Creek, Kununurra and Wyndham.
Even childcare centres say the welfare package is affecting staff turnover.
The Australian Childcare Alliance says the casualisation of the workforce means staff are unwilling to pick up shifts because it will reduce their JobSeeker earnings.
When the pandemic hit and staff lost their jobs they became eligible for unemployment benefits.
But when centers reopened and shifts became available many decided to remain on JobSeeker instead of returning to work.
A Perth childcare centre told parents they were struggling to re-hire staff as a result.
‘The ongoing JobSeeker payment adds a degree of difficulty to employment not seen before and this is impacting our efforts to recruit the calibre of educators we have become accustomed to,’ the child care centre wrote.
While the shortage is already being felt across a wide range of industries, those on the South West and South Coast of WA are bracing for the crisis to worsen over summer.
Simon Brown, General Manager of Pier Hotel in Esperance, said his business would struggle without backpackers.
‘Going forward, zero backpackers, zero ability to get anyone in from the eastern states. We’ve tried a few times to get people across the border, following quarantine procedures with no luck,’ Mr Brown said.
Unemployment figures reveal the 177,000 residents of Western Australia were receiving Job Seeker in July.
Despite the federal government announcing it was extending unemployment benefits, payments will be cut by around $300 on September 25.
Residents on JobSeeker will go from earning $1,100 a fortnight to only $815.