Revitalised program to help Townsville residents get Back to Work

Published Thursday, 08 July, 2021 at 03:34 PM

Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development
The Honourable Di Farmer

The Palaszczuk Government’s revitalised $140 million Back to Work employment program that will support thousands of Queenslanders to get - and keep - jobs is now open for applications.

The program has already helped more than 3,500 people in North Queensland into work.

Minister for Employment and Small Business Di Farmer said the refreshed program, unveiled in this year’s State Budget, will provide greater access to on-the-ground support for employers and disadvantaged job seekers. 

“The Palaszczuk Government put investing in skills and backing small business at the heart of our COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan because we believe wherever you are in Queensland, you deserve the chance to get a good job,” Minister Farmer said.

“We fund these job creating initiatives not only because they provide vital career opportunities to Queenslanders, but because they help small businesses too: over 80% of employers benefiting from Back to Work are small businesses.

“Across the state small businesses are telling me that trying to get people to fill the jobs they have is a major challenge.

“Since 2016, the Back to Work program has seen more than 25,500 people get into work because of the assistance provided to more than 12,000 employers.”

Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said as Queensland enters the latest phase of economic recovery, the Back to Work program will include additional support for employers and job seekers to support long-term and sustainable employment.                          

"The focus will be on those job seekers who experience significant disadvantage in the labour market, who often require more intensive support to find a job,” Mr Stewart said.

"There’ll be Back to Work support payments of up to $15,000 to eligible businesses who employ an eligible job seeker including the long term unemployed, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person or someone with disability, and there’ll be a $20,000 Youth Boost payment for eligible businesses to employ an eligible Queenslander aged between 15- 25."

Member for Mundingburra Les Walker said the Palaszczuk Government was focussed on getting young people in places like Townsville into jobs.

“These payments will create genuine, long-term employment outcomes,” Mr Walker said.

“The Back to Work program has supported more than 500 people in Mundingburra alone since it began.

“It has been a great success story in Townsville and the refreshed program will continue to support employers and job seekers into the future.”

Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said encouraging employers to be able to grow their business through the Back to Work program was an important part of Queensland’s economic recovery plan.

“In Thuringowa alone 167 employers have taken part in this fantastic program which helps businesses grow,” Mr Harper said.

“Backing businesses and people is what this program is all about and that’s why we continue to invest in it."

One of the businesses that’s benefited from Back to Work is C&B Designs. Partner Ben Milbourne said they’d hired three people through the program.

“The Back to Work program has been fantastic for us in lessening the financial burden and downtime in training our Back to Work employees and helping to supplement their wage,” Ben said.

“Israel was our first Back to Work employee early 2017 and is still with us now.

“Anthony, our newest, has settled in nicely and doing really well and I can see him lasting the distance. 

“I have nothing but praise for the Back to Work program and would be happy to recommend it to any employer out there.”

In addition to the financial employer incentives, a new range of intensive support for both job seekers, employers and their employees will be available. 

“We’ve made a number of changes in response to specific feedback we received after speaking with thousands of businesses at the Small Business Roadshow earlier this year,” Minister Farmer said.

“We’ve also added more elements to the program – including a range of intensive support to ensure both job seekers and businesses have what they need to succeed.

“This wraparound support will not only help businesses recruit workers, but, vitally, to retain them too.”

“Through the revitalised Back to Work program we’re doing things differently and trying new approaches to support these key cohorts to ensure they take advantage of the opportunities presented to them,” Minister Farmer said.

The support includes flexible approaches to provide employers and job seekers with the assistance and skills to successfully navigate job outcomes. The new approach will include utilising short courses, screening tools and workplace adjustments through the program’s network of support officers.     

The application cap on employers reset to zero on 1 July 2021. This means an eligible employer may make a further four applications under the revitalised Back to Work program.

For more information about the program visit

Media contact: Kate Talbot 0439 803 211