Renee Cluff

Tropic Now Editor

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Luxury FNQ lodge seeks staff amid ‘serious’ worker shortfall

Silky Oaks Lodge in the Daintree Rainforest has put the call out for a full suite of staff as the Far North Queensland region grapples with a shortage of hospitality and tourism employees.

The luxurious lodge is set to re-open in October following a $15-million refurbishment by parent company Baillie.

Manager Sonya Boaden said she’s ideally looking for local staff to fill a wide range of roles, including duty managers, chefs and kitchen staff, guest services positions, food and beverage service roles, housekeeping staff and spa therapists.

“We’ve had delays with the project due to the pandemic but works are starting to take shape in earnest now, and so the really fun and essential stage begins: creating our opening team,” she said.

“Baillie Lodges has a very rewarding family feel so there are lots of opportunities to join a terrific team of hospitality professionals, learn a lot and have lots of fun along the way.”

However, the region’s tourism and hospitality businesses are already in the grip of a staffing shortfall of around a third.

Employment portal SEEK recorded its highest number of new job listings in its 23-year history last month, driven by a 34.8% spike in the hospitality and tourism industry.

Managing Director Kendra Banks said reduced labour supply from overseas is just one contributing factor.

“Workers are displaying a more cautious approach to career moves following a turbulent year,” she said.

“With more jobs available, there is a knock-on effect to the number of applications per job ad posted.”

CEO of Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree, Tara Bennett, told Tropic Now the staffing shortage has come during a tourism boom.

“We definitely have a lot of jobs available at present with the lack of backpackers in Australia,” she said.

“Right now we are seeing more of the working holiday makers arriving from the southern states as they traditionally do for the winter but we do have a serious shortage.

“We’re full, we’re busier than we’ve ever been in April and we’ll have a record May.

“The pent-up demand is there, it’s such a dramatic change from a year ago.

“Businesses are just pushing on and doing the best they can.”

The domestic traveller increase follows the introduction of subsidised flights to Cairns, with the Federal Government reporting more than 50,100 half-price airfares to Far North Queensland have already been sold.

The half-price ticket sale will continue until July 31 with a travel window until the end of September 2021.