Welfare cut solves hospitality worker shortage dilemma

SOME Ipswich hospitality businesses are still struggling to fill job vacancies, even after JobSeeker payments were slashed by more than half late last month.

Others say that after months of being unable to fill positions, the reduction in payments has encouraged job seekers to return.

Ross Williams, who owns Ipswich CBD cafe and restaurant Fourthchild, said it had been "impossible" to find casual staff in the past few months and blamed JobSeeker.

A single person without children now receives $815.70 a fortnight after the cut on September 25.

Mr Williams was hopeful more people would now be searching for casual and part time work.

"Why would you go to work when you're getting paid all that money?" he said.

"I think it is starting to change now. I've just advertised again. It's just been a nightmare.

"You can't blame people."

Mr Williams, who moved to a new location late last year, said he had traditionally found it difficult to find chefs and managers wanting to work in the city.

"They think we live in Charleville," he said.

"That perception of where Ipswich actually is, it is changing."

He said he was currently looking to fill six casual positions but had only recently had luck securing university students from overseas.

"They haven't got that cushion," he said.

"I've just put two people on full time. When we were at the worst point due to COVID, we were down to four people, all on JobKeeper.

"I'm back up to 18 people now.

"My turnover has gone back up to normal trade but what is the new normal?

"You're just in limbo. You're very busy one day and then the next day you just don't know. It's very strange times.

"People are a little bit confused whether they can have functions. (The government) keeps changing the goalposts all the time."

Dancing Bean owner Richard Mergard is looking for two casual workers.

"We lost a lot of our casual staff as soon as JobSeeker arrived, they just walked away," he said.

"As soon as it was introduced, everything changed for us. It's been a battle ever since.

"Why would you work when you're getting free money to stay home?"


General Manager of PA Hotel, Peter Coultas.
General Manager of PA Hotel, Peter Coultas.


PA Hotel general manager Peter Coultas was searching for a dozen people to take up roles in the business three months ago without any luck.

He said the JobSeeker cuts at the end of September changed all that.

Mr Coultas' advertisements on Seek are now generating 20 applications a day.

"As soon as all the changes came, there was an abundance of qualified staff applying," he said.
"I think it was a security buffer for them. I filled all my posts and a couple of extras as well.

"The calibre of people applying in the past two weeks far exceeded what I got in the past two months.

"We've lost all assistance (with JobKeeper) as of September 28."

Mr Coultas, who has 30 years of experience in the industry, believed the possibility of a second COVID wave and subsequent restrictions were keeping job seekers away for now.

"I think a large portion of the hospitality industry will struggle to get staff simply because with COVID, we were first out and last back," he said.

"We will be the first to close down if we have any interruptions like Victoria.

"I think across the board, it's going to struggle to attract staff. I do believe people are looking to join a large organisation that they feel comfortable in if anything happens."

The biggest jobs blow in Ipswich during the pandemic struck one of the region's largest private employer in early September.

JBS Dinmore announced on September 9 it was shedding a third of its 1800 workforce, blaming a range of issues impacting livestock supply and market conditions during COVID.


Churchill Abattoir director, Barry Moule.
Churchill Abattoir director, Barry Moule.


Churchill Abattoir managing director Barry Moule is working to restart operations three years after the Yamanto plant shut down to plug that gap.

If operations restarted, 150 to 200 workers would be needed right away and another 400 jobs would be created over the next 12 months.

Mr Moule is still seeking State Government backing to make it happen and create hundreds of new jobs to revitalise the local meat processing industry.


Current and former Churchill Abattoir workers met on site recently to discuss the possibility of getting their old jobs back, as managing director Barry Moule pushes for State Government backing to reopen the facility.
Current and former Churchill Abattoir workers met on site recently to discuss the possibility of getting their old jobs back, as managing director Barry Moule pushes for State Government backing to reopen the facility.


There are about 6000 people based at RAAF Base Amberley including military personnel, public servants and aviation contractors.

Close to 10 per cent of all employment in Ipswich is in the defence industry and associated supply chain and the sector generates more than $1.41 billion in export value for the local economy.

Growing the sector in Ipswich has been earmarked as a significant jobs boon for the city.

The LNP will contribute $135 million towards a new manufacturing facility owned by weapons manufacturing company Rheinmetall in Redbank if it is elected in this month's state election.

The Land Systems Technology Precinct would be a training ground for new apprentices and create 500 permanent jobs.

The company already has a workforce of more than 450 based at the Rheinmetall Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence, which was officially opened by Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Sunday.


There are hundreds of jobs on offer in Ipswich at the moment - here are just 50

Casual receptionist (Healius Medical Centres in Ipswich)

Restaurant waiting staff (Fourthchild in Ipswich)

Customer service attendant (Freedom Fuels in Ipswich)

Secretary/administration officer (Cricket Ipswich in Ipswich)

Coles online shopper (Coles in North Ipswich)

Retail assistant (Aldi in Ipswich)

Sales assistant (Beacon Lighting in Ipswich)

Administration officer (Carinity in Ipswich)

Telehealth marketer (Riverlink Family Practice in North Ipswich)

Construction labourers (Ipswich)

Community development officer (Police Citizens Youth Club QLD in Ipswich)

Sales representative (Stoney Creek Campers in Ipswich)

Concrete operations trainee (Zanows' Concrete and Quarries in Ipswich)

Coles supermarket team member (Coles in Springfield)

Respiratory clinic member (Flinders Peak Medical Centre)

Time and attendance officer (Bombardier Transportation in Wulkuraka)

Residential youth workers and case managers (Safe Places For Children in Ipswich)

Allied health assistant (St Andrew's Ipswich Private Hospital)

Maintenance carpenter (Hire A Hubby in Flinders View)

Support worker (Real Community Services in Ipswich)

Assistant store manager (Lowes in Ipswich)

Assistant brewer (4 Hearts Brewing Co. in Ipswich)

Bush regenerator (Australian Environmental Landscapes in Ipswich)

Residential youth worker (Hope Support Services in Ipswich)

Sales and services role (Telstra in Springfield, Redbank and Ipswich)

Roving grounds and maintenance officer (Carinity in Ipswich)

First and second year junior apprentice tilers (DGT in Ipswich)

Accounts Administrator (Recruitment@Top in Ipswich)

Farmhand (APG Workforce in Purga)

Retail consultant (Optus in Ipswich)

Medical receptionist and bookings agent (Exact Radiology in Ipswich)

Personal care worker (Bolton Clarke in Ipswich)

Human resource manager (Ipswich Girls' and Junior Grammar School)

In home carer (Beacon Support Pty Ltd in Ipswich)

Battlespace management system controller (Raytheon in Amberley)

Bar and gaming attendants (Brothers Leagues Club in Ipswich)

Residential youth worker (All Care Australia in Ipswich)

Payroll project officer (PERSOLKELLY in Ipswich)

Materials team member (TAE Aerospace in Bundamba)

Landscape labourer (Edge Personnel in Swanbank)

Removalist - offsider or driver (Moving Ipswich Pty Ltd in Ipswich)

Finance Officer (VE Group AU Pty Ltd in Dinmore)

Swim school manager (Ipswich)

Retail fresh food store manager (Harvest Markets in Booval)

Store manager (Wallace Bishop in Ipswich)

Pastoral middle leader (St Mary's College in Ipswich)

Detention youth worker (Department of Youth Justice in Wacol)

Detailer (Stoney Creek Campers Pty Ltd in Bundamba)

Banking consultant (ANZ in North Ipswich)

Supply chain analyst (Capral Aluminium in Bundamba)