BrIMPACT job placement celebrated but concerns remain about rising unemployment

Fifteen jobseekers have been placed recently with local companies under a new Council initiative called Project BrIMPACT that helps local businesses recruit and retain more young people facing barriers to employment. The project has resulted in 24 job outcomes to date, with nine young people recruited earlier to help with the project.

With COVID-19 already impacting unemployment rates across Victoria, Brimbank Mayor, Cr Georgina Papafotiou said this was a positive result, and Council was working hard to encourage and facilitate local employment, as outlined through the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Strategy.

‘Council’s Project BrIMPACT is continuing until May 2020. It is a key step to help Council establish a new Business, Jobs and Skills Working Group, as called for in the Transforming Brimbank 2020 Agenda.

‘The agenda outlines how Brimbank can leverage the major investments coming to the city, to create job, education, health and fairness outcomes for generations to come.

‘Council will be seeking to secure further assistance to support local jobs in the context of BrIMPACT, which is due to expire this May, but also in the context of Brimbank Learning Futures (BLF), which is currently on track to see program funding expire by June 2020.

‘BLF is providing a telephone service to support young people and families impacted by unemployment with trusted information on material aid and how to access government assistance,’ Cr Papafotiou said.

Along with ‘BrIMPACT’, Council is already working actively on many fronts to support local business through an integrated COVID-19 related Business Support and Assistance Response.

Support includes keeping businesses informed about support packages, one-on-one engagement to understand what help is needed and information gathering to inform future advocacy.

Council is also encouraging government investment in key projects, such as the Melbourne Airport Rail, St Albans Health and Wellbeing Hub, and the Home of the Matildas at Sydenham Park, to support and stimulate the local economy as part of the recovery phase.

Mayor Papafotiou said Council is supportive of the Federal and State governments’ better integrating councils into the broader COVID-19 response packages, to build better understanding of local impacts.

The recent fall in unemployment figures in Brimbank from the December Quarter, from 9.6 per cent (Dec 2018) to 8.1 per cent (Dec 2019), is the last decrease in unemployment we will likely see for some time locally. The unemployment rate is expected to get higher next month and higher again the month after that, due to the COVID-19 crisis.

‘In the current climate, it is essential the Federal and State governments continue working with Council and provide funding through programs such as BrIMPACT, BLF and other initiatives, to ensure our community does not have key services withdrawn at such a critical time.

‘Rising unemployment is a grave concern to Council, especially as Brimbank already experiences a number of significant socio-economic challenges.

“Along with the major packages that have been announced by the Federal and State governments, we’re looking to them for further solutions, as we are keen to work together on this issue going forward,’ Cr Papafotiou said.

Council will continue to monitor unemployment trends and impacts, with a view to ensuring ongoing support is providing as part of Brimbank’s COVID-19 response and recovery phases so impacted local workers are assisted as quickly as possible to get back to work.

Council continues to promote Brimbank Joblink, its free online service connecting local business with local jobseekers. Brimbank Joblink also helps jobseekers search for local jobs and includes information about the $500 million Working for Victoria initiative to help Victorians, including people who have lost their jobs due to the economic impacts of coronavirus, to find new work opportunities.

Council will continue to work in good faith with all levels of government and our community to help ensure we develop a comprehensive pathway to recovery, including through local economic stimulus projects and programs.

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