More jobs for Queenslanders as we unite and recover from the global pandemic

Published Wednesday, 15 July, 2020 at 11:48 AM

Premier and Minister for Trade
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

The Premier has announced a $90 million package to create even more jobs for Queenslanders as part of Queensland’s economic recovery plan.

The Premier told Parliament the global pandemic has had a devastating impact on Queensland jobs and particularly on younger Queenslanders who have tragically been forced from workplaces in the midst of this unprecedented crisis.

“That’s why my government will allocate $90 million to provide Queenslanders with the skills they need to find meaningful jobs and set up pathways for the future,” the Premier said.

“I am determined to stop a cycle of generational unemployment where young people fall out of the labour market.

“My government will extend our Back to Work Program, we will expand Skilling Queenslanders for Work and we will deliver priority jobs in the Great Barrier Reef catchments.

“COVID-19 has had a shattering impact on jobs for young Queenslanders who, we know, have been disproportionately affected.

“The figures unfortunately speak for themselves.

“Between mid-March and late-April 15.6 per cent of Queenslanders aged under 20 lost their jobs according to the ABS payroll data.

“And one in ten young people aged 20 to 29 also became unemployed during the same period.

“With the easing of restrictions we have seen jobs coming back however the number of jobs for people aged under 20 remains 4.3 per cent lower than before COVID-19 and for people aged between 20 and 29, jobs remain 7.7 per cent lower at the end of June.”

The Premier said her government’s Skills and Industry Summit held 18 months ago brought together industry, small business, universities, the training sector and the unions to ensure our state is ready and able to meet the workforce needs of our rapidly changing economy.

“It resulted in a clear pathway forward to equip Queenslanders with skills and training – but we have now entered a new era and in a post COVID economy we need to give industry every opportunity to adapt and thrive,” the Premier said.

Back to Work

The Premier said we will extend our successful Back to Work program with a $70 million boost that provides much needed support to businesses for another 12 months to June 30, 2021.

“As part of this, we will offer businesses a new Apprentice and Trainee Boost of up to $20,000 which will be available to employers who take on an eligible apprentice or trainee under the scheme,” she said. “I want to recognise the advocacy of Ai Group in advocating for further support for training during this time.

“Back to Work is a program that works. It has supported more than 22,600 new jobs with Queensland businesses since 2016 with nearly 80 per cent of Back to Work funding paid to small businesses.

“Currently over a quarter of all approved applications for the program are for apprentices and trainees.

“We want to boost that number to put more young people on the path to a rewarding job.

“Back to Work payments are available to Queensland businesses that recruit a new worker who has been unemployed for at least four weeks.

“These payments provided employers with vital cash injections during the worst of the pandemic.

“And now they can help get our economy growing again as restrictions ease. “We will further review Back to Work and our support after we know what the Federal Government’s plans for JobKeeper are – with JobKeeper due to expire at the end of September.”

Skilling Queenslanders for Work

The Premier said around 500 jobs would be created by a $10 million extension to Skilling Queenslanders for Work.

“Interestingly, it was eight years ago this week that Campbell Newman announced that he was scrapping the hugely successful Skilling Queenslanders for Work program,” the Premier said.

“In contrast today my government is redoubling our focus on skills and training as we continue to work to deliver Queensland’s plan for economic recovery as we emerge from COVID-19.

“Skilling Queenslanders for Work has a solid and proven track record for increasing workforce participation across the state and has provided job ready skills and training to Queenslanders who need it most.

“More than 30,000 people have found jobs thanks to participating in the program since 2016 and our additional investment in the initiatives will open doors to even more opportunities for Queenslanders while helping to drive our economy.

“It will also ensure we have the skilled workforce Queensland needs for the jobs now and into the future, helping our economy continue to move on from the pandemic.”

Reef Assist Program

The Premier also announced the government would invest $10 million to deliver priority environmental projects and jobs in the Great Barrier Reef catchments.

“This $10 million Reef Assist program will provide unemployed and underemployed Queenslanders with temporary nature-based employment, delivering up to 200 jobs in hard hit regions like Mackay, Townsville and Cairns and across areas such as improving resilience to natural disasters, improving water quality, habitat restoration, and weed and pest management,” the Premier said.

“Local organisations will be invited to identify shovel-ready projects, which could include practical, on-ground work such as streambank rehabilitation, planting trees, pest and weed control, and landscaping. “This policy has been developed following input from LGAQ, AgForce, the Pew Charitable Trust and the Queensland Conservation Council.

“My government is firmly focussed on getting Queensland’s economy back on its feet – and that starts with providing the opportunity for skills and training that will create and sustain jobs.”


Media contact:

Chris Taylor – 0400 990 162