South Coast Businesses Struggle to Find Staff as Airbnb Strains Rental Market | Canberra weather


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Visitors to the south coast have been warned to expect long waits and early closing times as tour operators struggle to hire the necessary staff this summer. The lack of backpackers has been blamed for a shortage of casual workers with restrictions on international arrivals putting pressure on hospitality in particular. Business owners say they’re struggling to retain local staff as an influx of Airbnbs pushes young people out of the rental market. Bermagui bakery owner Honor Northam said to grow her business she would consider buying a house to accommodate the staff. There are currently around 20 Airbnbs listed in the city of around 1600 and almost no rentals available. Ms Northan said the rental market is adding to the pressure felt by business owners in the area. “It feels like extra pressure because the last couple of years we haven’t really had a summer,” she said. “We’re all counting on this kind of summer to come back even though it’s going to be really humid.” Baker Chloe Spear moved from Canberra to Bermagui four years ago. She moved into an RV on the property of her partner’s parents when her previous rental sold because there was nothing else available. “It was very difficult back then and it just keeps getting more difficult,” she said. Ms. Spear has friends and colleagues who have been on real estate waiting lists for months. “It’s vacation homes that take up most of what’s here, so we can see empty homes all around us,” she said. Ms Spears said there were constantly posts on the local Facebook group of people looking for rentals. She said people report living in trailers and tents with children and businesses unable to fill shifts. “There are probably at least five to ten companies in town right now looking for people they just can’t get,” she said. Staff vacancies are pending at Alfresco’s Coffee Roasters, Swans Takeaway and the Health Cafe on Church Street in Moruya. In Batemans Bay, the situation is no different, with Starfish Restaurant and Marina JJ’s both having to reduce their opening hours due to understaffing. Batemans Bay Chamber of Commerce Speaker David Maclachlan said while hotel operators were hopeful that the positions could be filled now that school and university were over, skilled workers remained a problem. “When things started to close, people left the hotel business, so it’s very difficult to get them back,” he said. “It’s hard to get people out of the area because the first thing they ask is, ‘do you have accommodation for me? “” Mr. Maclachlan opened Batemans Bay Lodge several months ago. He said they couldn’t serve breakfast at the hotel because they couldn’t find a chef or the right staff, despite being advertised on several different platforms for weeks. The opening of the hotel bar has been postponed to January 2022 for the same reason. “We’re really short,” he said. “We always need housekeepers, everyone needs housekeepers. When things started to stop with COVID, people migrated out of these industries, they just did other jobs, getting them back is going to be very difficult. Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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