Media Release



In response to widespread industry feedback, a new panel discussion has been added to the Australian Festival Industry Conference’s (AFIC) 2022 program, entitled: ‘Workforce skills and labour shortages: planning for the future‘.

A variety of factors such as the COVID-19 pandemic and international border closures means employers are being faced with extreme labour and skills shortages, and are struggling to find qualified and experienced workers to urgently fill roles.

Joining the discussion will be:

  • Jo Gaddes, Lead Vocational Teacher (Events) at TAFE Queensland (Gold Coast campus)
  • Badi Mahabat, General Manager, Casual Hands

The panellists will be outlining their observations of the past few years and what they feel needs to happen for the industry to get back on track.

Jo Gaddes: an experienced event educator and has been with TAFE Queensland for the past 15 years. She has enjoyed a 25+ year career in the events, hospitality and tourism industries, and regularly works with a variety of Gold Coast based festivals and major events. AFIC has also formed a partnership with TAFE Queensland to feature some of their current event management students throughout at the event.

Badi Mahabat: co-founder and general manager of Casual Hands – a nationally recognised event staffing and labour hire solutions provider of staff in the areas of hospitality, events, cleaning, security, and customer service. Some of Casual Hands’ most prominent clients include AGB Events, Royal Randwick, and the ICC Sydney, to name just a few. Badi will also be presenting on a new staff management and reporting software that he has developed – considered a game changer for the major events industry.

“The pandemic, along with a toxic cocktail of other contributing factors, has created a troubling situation for the festival industry, and certainly poses a serious problem for employers as they try and get back to normal”, says AFIC founder and event director, Carlina Ericson.

“I felt, based feedback that I was receiving from all corners of the industry, it was imperative that AFIC hosted a panel discussion covering this timely topic. The aim is for us to collectively determine some top-line solutions that the industry and Government can take away to implement”, says Ms Ericson.

Further panellists will be announced soon.

AFIC is also issuing an open invitation to any relevant industry association board representatives who may wish to join the discussion. EOIs can be sent to Carlina Ericson, AFIC founder and event director, at [email protected]

“We now have people registered to attend from almost every State and territory across Australia. People are coming far and wide; from Adelaide, to Hobart, to Cairns and everywhere in between. It’s going to be a terrific year!”

Tickets are on sale now.  Prices will increase from 1 August 2022. The final deadline to purchase is 5:00pm, 24 August 2022.  Discounts relating to group bookings, accommodation and theme park passes are available.

To purchase tickets, visit


Hashtags: #afic2022 #austfestconference #playGoldCoast
Further media enquiries: please contact Carlina Ericson, founder & event director on 0431 523 970 or [email protected]