The federal budget will create plenty of new jobs but not enough workers to fill them, according to understaffed businesses.
The budget includes another $15.6 billion in promised infrastructure projects, but Business NSW Riverina manager Anthony McFarlane said the real bottleneck was finding enough workers to get those projects off the ground.
"Even prior to COVID-19, skills shortages were a major constraint on infrastructure development," Mr McFarlane said.
"Re-opening international borders and re-skilling the economy are essential to deliver the government's ambitions.
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The tradie shortage has caused headaches for Wagga Stainless Steel owner David Wheeler, who said it was a longstanding problem all across Wagga's manufacturing industry.
"We just need those trained tradesmen to come. We've advertised for a fair while but there's just a lack of them," he said.
"A lot of people in other trades who come to my door are hearing the same thing down the line. They're frustrated too, it just makes them shake their heads."
Restaurateur Robert Baliva, who owns Thaigga and Tammy's Thai, said they were struggling to get delivery drivers, waiters, and other front-of-house staff.
Mr Bolivia said he is currently trying to fill two part-time and four casual vacancies, and has heard of other restaurants around town facing similar struggles filling their rosters.
"I don't know what it is. In the past we'd have no troubles putting an ad online and getting 20, 30 applications but now we're lucky to get five," Mr Baliva said.
Jason Crowley, who owns Crowley's Hot Sauce and Cave BBQ, said the real battle was finding trained employees able to fill the rosters.
"There's a lot of people out there looking for jobs, but whether they have the necessary skills is the kicker," Mr Crowley said.
Wagga Business Chamber's Serena Hardwick said there was plenty of work that needed doing around town, and plenty of opportunities for young people looking to get their start in life.
"It's about engaging youth in Wagga, because we know they leave in search of the city experience. For us as a business chamber it's about showcasing the career opportunities that Wagga has," Ms Hardwick said.
"We have a massive potential for people to grow and start their career here, and there's a lot of work coming here in the next 12 months."
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