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Grey nomads, a possible solution to staff shortages across the Northern Territory

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Grey nomads could be the solution to staff shortages across the Northern Territory according to the Chamber of Commerce.

Business is picking up for local operators who had to close during the coronavirus outbreak, thrusting staff shortages into the forefront again.

The Chamber’s chief executive Greg Ireland says grey nomads could work a few hours at local businesses, helping with staff shortages while earning extra money for their travels.

“A lot of the communities and more remote regions could certainly do with some casual workers and I’m sure some of those visitors could do with a few dollars as they move through these areas,” Mr Ireland says.

Welfare changes

But he says the Commonwealth would need to make some concessions, similar to those that have been made for international students.

“We’ve seen the Federal Government relax the visa requirements for international students and that’s certainly helped, allowing them to work a full week rather than just half a week is adding to the pool of available workers.”

“Essentially it’s just allowing a certain number of hours to be worked and remunerated without impacting on pensioners has been our suggestion.”

Out in droves

Mr Ireland says there are plenty of grey nomads in the Territory at the moment who could put their existing skills to work.

“Caravan parks are full, the free camping spots along the roads are also pretty full, we’re hearing stories of Katherine having to open up overflow caravan parks, there’s plenty of resources there."

“If they want to change sheets or help out in the local mechanic shop or whatever it might be that their former work skills were, I think it would benefit the entire community."

The proposal would help ease reliance on international students, who are in short supply due to the country's border closures.