AACS Calls for Assistance to tackle Labour Shortages to Ensure Recovery

The petrol and convenience sector in Australia are feeling the effects of the dramatic drop in international temporary visa holders and international students. Figures released by the ATO last week suggested that as a result of closed borders job vacancies within the retail trade had jumped 80% from 19000 to 35000 between February 2020 to May 2021.

“The Petrol and Convenience sector have felt the full effects of labour shortages throughout the pandemic as we remained an essential service” said Theo Foukkare, the CEO of the Australian Associations of Convenience Stores. “Currently we have in excess of 10,000 vacancies within the sector, as the remainder of retail trade opens up in NSW and Victoria, the pressure for staffing will increase even further” Mr Foukkare added.

A temporary relaxation of the student visa working hours cap of 40 hours per fortnight is currently in place for the aged care, NDIS providers, health care, agriculture, tourism, hospitality, supermarkets and associated distribution facilities. In those areas that are affected by lockdowns. This temporary relaxation is due to end when lockdowns end.

Mr Foukkare is seeking to extend and broaden the relaxation of the cap to all retail trade including Petrol and Convenience outlets as restrictions are eased.

“The Labour shortage will be an issue for the next 12 months and we need assistance”

“As more outlets reopen, the issue of labour shortages particularly in NSW and Victoria will become more problematic. We need a harmonised relaxation approach across all retail channels to ensure that we have even playing field to attract temporary visa holders to fill positions” Mr Foukkare Said
“The issue doesn’t end when restrictions are eased, it’s only the start and we would like to see these temporary relaxations continue until the international borders are fully open and we have normalised the available workforce”

Theo Foukkare is available for interview: 0423 003 133

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