Speech: Member statement, staff shortages

Recently I visited WMI Feeders and SHR Southern Hydraulics & Rubber, which are true manufacturing success stories for South-West Coast.

Based in Warrnambool, Jason Willie and his team have done a terrific job growing the businesses, and their red stock feeders are now widely distributed throughout Australia and were even last year exported to Chile.

I also last week met Dean and Sarah Hellessey from the Great Ocean Road Tourist Park in

They struggled through the past couple of years of COVID border closures and restrictions but are hoping there is light at the end of the tunnel with international tourists starting to trickle back.

Jason and the Hellesseys work in vastly different sectors, but they are both being hampered by one critical factor: a lack of staff.

Hospitality, retail, tourism, agriculture, manufacturing — I have heard from so many different
industries that are gripped with the same problem.

It has reached a crisis point. It has never been more important that the Labor government do more to ensure we get our young people not only prepared to enter the workforce but engaged and excited to do so.

I urge the government to invest in more targeted programs and pathways that allow people to pursue jobs and career paths that they are passionate about, find new, innovative ways to connect businesses and industries with employees and support people to gain training and skills to develop a career in a field that inspires them.