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Tourism plant set to address regional labour and skill shortages n Victoria

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Minister for Resources and Energy, Minister for Tourism

Tourism Plan Set to Address Regional Labour and Skills Shortages in Victoria 29 May 2012

The Hon Louise Asher MP Minister for Tourism and Major Events Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business

The Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP Minister for Tourism Minister for Resources and Energy

A new joint State and Federal Government tourism plan to address labour and skills shortages is to be rolled out in two of Victoria's key tourism regions, the Mornington Peninsula and Phillip Island.

Victorian Minister for Tourism and Major Events Louise Asher announced the development of the plan on the Mornington Peninsula today.

"The Victorian Coalition Government recognises the challenges and opportunities facing the tourism industry, including the tight labour market," Ms Asher said.

"It is important to ensure that the tourism workforce meets this demand with the required skills.

"The Tourism Employment Plan, a key initiative of the national tourism strategy Tourism 2020, will identify local employment and training needs," Ms Asher said.

The Coalition Government, through Tourism Victoria and the Commonwealth Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism, will work with tourism operators and small businesses in the Mornington Peninsula and Phillip Island regions to develop a targeted strategy to help identify employment and training needs, including linking those businesses with government and industry programs.

"We will be consulting local businesses including hotels, cafés and restaurants, and travel and retail businesses to develop a targeted plan as part of our overarching strategy to further grow Victoria's $15.2 billion tourism industry which employs 193,000 people," Ms Asher said.

Federal Minister for Tourism Martin Ferguson AM said the tourism industry had 36,000 vacancies and the Tourism Employment Plans were one of a number of Australian Government tools to help small businesses in the tourism industry to fill labour gaps.

"The challenge for small business is finding the time to explore the myriad government programs designed to assist them with recruiting and retaining staff," Mr Ferguson said.

"Tourism Employment Plans will save businesses in Phillip Island and on the Mornington Peninsula time and money by linking them with existing programs to improve education and training, and by supporting recruitment and retention and labour mobility outcomes."

According to Tourism Research Australia, the contribution of tourism to Phillip Island's economy is the highest of any region in Victoria, at a total of 18.7 per cent or $353 million.

Member for Hastings Neale Burgess, who joined Minister Asher at the announcement, said Tourism Research Australia data also showed the Mornington Peninsula had the second-highest number of tourism businesses employing workers in regional Victoria.

"The Mornington Peninsula is a much-loved Victorian getaway location, and it is growing in popularity with interstate and overseas tourists. The Coalition Government is committed to supporting these local businesses to ensure we can continue to capitalise on this growth in our tourism industry," Mr Burgess said.

Member for Mornington David Morris, Member for Nepean Martin Dixon, Member for Frankston Geoff Shaw and Member for Bass Ken Smith welcomed the Tourism Employment Plan and encouraged their local businesses to participate in Tourism Victoria's planning work.

Ms Asher said the Coalition Government was working to improve Victoria's economic performance by assisting industry and boosting exports and trade.

"Tourism is integral to this approach and we will continue to work in new and innovative ways with the sector to address workforce and skills needs," Ms Asher said.

Media Contact:

Bronwyn Perry (Asher) 0408 221 963; Cathryn Tilmouth (Ferguson) 0401 222 941

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