Adopt a worker in Lorne

Our hospitality and accommodation businesses continue to experience significant labour shortages due to the void created by a very limited number of international students, backpackers and itinerant workers unable to travel and move freely between states. A recent survey highlighted the fact that businesses in Lorne require an additional 130 seasonal workers starting from Melbourne Cup weekend and ramping up throughout December and January. There is also 30 permanent jobs available. Compounding the problem is the lack of accommodation available which is the number one issue in attracting workers.

Over the past few months, the Lorne Business & Tourism Association (LBTA) has been working with the Committee of Lorne, Surf Coast Shire and the Great Ocean Road Authority to identify accommodation opportunities such as Queens Park campsites, GOR Cottages and changes to the Shire’s Local Law to allow residents to place a caravan or tent on their property for up to 120 days providing the tenant is a certified worker in Lorne. We are also exploring a number of other accommodation opportunities.

One such opportunity being developed by the LBTA is “Adopt a Worker”.  This program seeks to engage permanent and non-permanent residents to offer various forms of accommodation for rental or otherwise.


Well known journalist Anson Cameron, a non-resident but frequent visitor to Lorne recently wrote an article for the LBTA highlighting the issue.

Adopt a worker in Lorne

“Ask not what your town can do for you. Ask what you can do for your town.”

Diamond Joe Quimby, Mayor of Springfield.

Never has there been a more pertinent motto shouted at a crowd by a cartoon mayor. Because it’s time to give back to Lorne. The town has a problem and you can help do something about it.

Picture Lorne at the height of summer: the beach is a choir of laughter and squeals, sunscreen-smeared kids are nursing ice creams, the young are in beer gardens and bars laughing and drinking and falling in love, shoppers are buzzing from store to store like bees on blossom, silver-haired folk are sitting in restaurants eating languid meals with old friends, golfers are golfing, surfers are surfing… This town is undoubtedly one of the sweetest spots on the planet. We all know that.

But listen! The anguished cry is heard above the hum of pleasure. “Oi…Where’s my calamari? I been waitin’ an hour.”

“What happened to my double-shot latte?” 

“Where’s my pint?”

“Queuing all day for a scoop of pistachio’s an outrage. In Byron they practically fire it at you out of a cannon. What’s wrong with this place?”

What’s wrong with this place is we can’t get workers. There is no accommodation for them in this town. No beds. They can’t afford to live here. And the whole crazy/beautiful scene that is Lorne in summer doesn’t work without workers. It breaks down. Coffee isn’t made. Beers aren’t pulled. Dishes aren’t washed and shelves aren’t stacked. Businesses bleed money as tourists drift away to places where their needs are met. Perplexingly… Lorne is a town strewn with empty beds.

This is where the part-time permanent residents of Lorne might come to the rescue. Why not adopt a worker? If it sounds an odd thing to do, then consider the Schnoodle. Who’d have thought they’d take off? But now there’s a four-year-long waiting list to get a puppy. Workers could be the same soon. You might be queuing to get one by next summer.

But this time next year in Lorne if you haven’t got a backpacker in your bungalow, you might come off as some sort of hard-hearted interloper unwilling to help the community. Not only will adopting a worker be recognized as an act of benevolence to the town, but it’ll be also a status symbol to have one.

“We have a Bulgarian barista in the bungalow out the back.”

“Just one? We have a Venezuelan on the verandah and a lass from Winnipeg in the Winnebago.”

“We have a Samoan in the sleep-out, a Guatemalan glamping in the garret, a Spaniard in the spare room, and an undergrad from Upwey in the understairs.”

They don’t need five star digs. A tent on a flat piece of ground and a hot shower might suffice – or your caravan or granny flat. And, unlike Schnoodles, workers pay rent. (Not a lot. Come on now, they’re doing hard jobs for minimum wage. Cut ‘em some slack. Remember – you’re doing a service for your town.)

For some of you older folk with empty bedrooms having a young person on the property might be a way of reconnecting with the zeitgeist, or practicing your French… or at least getting a free coffee. What could be more uplifting than hearing a young Swedish voice in the house spilling tales of Nordic life? Or a kid from Nathalia who’s spending her first uni holidays working on the coast? But let’s not be ageist. Any of you middle-aged Aussie couples out there looking for a sea change might embrace the Lorne hospitality work scene. A caravan on the coast with an hour catching waves at day’s end anyone?

So, adopt a worker and become part of a sweet synthesis of community and commerce whereby Lorne is able, once again, to show its best self to the world.

Anson Cameron October 2021


‘Adopt a Worker’ is an initiative of the Lorne Business and Tourism Association to benefit the town, its workers, and visitors. 

You’ll be participating in an exclusive, pioneering strategy.  For details on how to participate, email: or visit or read the QR code with the camera on your phone to register and receive our starter pack of information.

Paul Upham/Clive Goldsworthy
Lorne Business & Tourism Association
0437 910 472