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Editorial December 17th 2021

Welcome to this week’s editorial, Just a week until Christmas and the summer holidays that everyone has been looking forward to. The shops and cafes will hopefully be full as they play an vital role in employing so many of our community. For those not aware the Eurobodalla has an considerably high under-employment rate that brings with it the difficulties associated with having part time jobs and unsecure work tenure. Next time you go into a local shop, café or restaurant you might like to consider that the person serving you has possibly one, two or three other jobs to make up, if lucky, a full 38 hour week. Look a little deeper and you might wonder how much they pay in rent or mortgage, the costs of running a vehicle, of keeping themselves in work clothes and how they manage their time. Add to this that many will be parents with all of the commitments of a busy life that includes insurances, fees, rates, food and clothing. They might even extend themselves to having a dog or cat.

But here they are today, at the business you visit, offering a bright smile and doing their best to serve you. It will be a long shift and maybe not the last for the day before they go home exhausted, to then do it all over again tomorrow. Being a holiday destination that has many of our local businesses operating seven days a week our already under-resourced part time workers have less time off and work through weekends to help make ends meet. You may have noticed adverts in social media, on The Beagle and on the many Notice Boards around the shire looking for cleaners, baristas, shop assistants, gardeners, chefs, waitstaff and even lifesavers. Behind many of these advertisements is a quiet desperation in knowing that there are few, if any, locals able to rise to the occasion as they are already working more hours than normal. Irrespective as to whether the many positions of cook, cleaner and bottle washer are filled the holiday makers are coming. And they are coming in droves. From all quarters. And each and all will hopefully be attending our shops, our bars, cafes, tourism activities and restaurants. In the month or so ahead there will be a quite hope by many in our community that they can make enough money during this short period to put aside for the off-season when visitors find themselves elsewhere. Hours will drop off rosters, trading hour signs will be changed, and once again, as we have done for decades and more, we go back into hibernation. But for the summer ahead we can hope to see the numbers swell, the roads become busy, the sidewalks full. There will be traffic queues, there will be parking congestion, the beaches will be festooned with towels, cricket games, volleyball, boogey boards and children smeared with zinc. People will get hot, sweaty and sunburned. Irrespective of how they become it is important that they remember that they are on holiday, and the person serving them is not. For just a second, if they could, before they offer up their vitriolic remarks about the time it takes to be satisfied, they might like to look at the footwear of who are serving them, and wonder what it might be like to walk a mile or two in those shoes. We can only hope. Until next –lei