The Margaret River Region’s key industries are seasonal, with its workforce requirements increasing significantly during the peak summer months of the year. Traditionally, industry has been able to supplement its permanent workforce with a seasonal workforce drawn from other parts of the State and across the country, backpackers travelling through Australia, as well as workers sourced from overseas on temporary work visas.

In more recent times however, there have been increasing calls from industry to increase the supply of affordable accommodation for seasonal workers, which is becoming a barrier for some businesses to securing enough transient workers. This issue will be exacerbated over the coming years as a number of new developments become operational, which will require an even larger seasonal workforce.

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated restrictions on the movement of people has only exacerbated and challenged this tried-and-tested model of sourcing seasonal workers. For businesses in the Margaret River Region, sourcing seasonal workers has been compounded in recent years due to the shortages of adequate and affordable accommodation.

MRBTA has responded to widespread staff shortages experienced by its members across the region with the following activity:

  • MRBTA and MRWA, with the support of Tourism WA and the South West Development Commission, is undertaking a Seasonal Worker Accommodation Study. The study will help to develop an understanding of the seasonal worker population in the region; what roles seasonal workers undertake; availability of suitable accommodation for seasonal workers, and assess and identify innovative options available to address any shortages in the provision of suitable accommodation. Leading independent economics, policy and strategy advisory firm ACIL Allen has been appointed to undertake the study. Findings will be shared during 2022.
  • Rent-a-Spare-Room’ campaign in partnership with the Margaret River Wine Association and the local Chambers of Commerce and Industry (September – November 2021).
  • Promoting State Government initiatives including Tourism WA’s ‘Job Connect’ and ‘Ctrl Your Summer Job’ and to assist businesses to source local staff (November – December 2021).