Australia’s peak body of tourism organisations, Australian Chamber-Tourism, is concerned by reports today that the Unions would be applying strong pressure on a possible Labor Government to wind back the Working Holiday Maker Scheme.
Australian Chamber-Tourism Executive Chair, John Hart said, “the Working Holiday Maker Visa Program is not only a vital source of labour for the tourism sector, it is a vital source of tourism revenue, particularly in the regions.”
“Working Holiday Makers spend approximately two and a half times more than they earn, and create over 25,000 jobs in the Australian economy.
“The ACTU’s proposals to cap numbers and abandon the second year of the Visa totally, ignore the benefits of the program and the importance of Working Holiday Makers to regional economies.
“On average Working Holiday Makers spend over $10,000 per trip in Australia. Much of this spend is in regions, particularly for those Working Holiday Makers that are working toward their second year Visa.”
“Recent changes by the Government to increase caps in a number of Countries and add a third year to the Visa under certain conditions, acknowledge the importance of Working Holiday Makers to the economy. The ACTU are clearly blind to these realities.
“In a major migration statement, Migration Works for All of Us, released last month the Australian Chamber pointed out, the Working Holiday Maker is a key part of a total migration program that fits Australia’s particular need.
“The jobs Working Holiday Makers fill in regional Australia are often short term and seasonal, and there simply are not enough job seeking Australians who are willing to move for that type of work.
“Often the focus with the Working Holiday Maker Program is its importance to the agricultural sector, but for tourism, the program is as much about tourism spend as it is about supplementing the workforce. Any attack on the program would be a direct attack on Australia’s stand-out industry performer, tourism.”