New committee to focus on Bundaberg jobs

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

The Bundaberg region is to receive more support from the Palaszczuk Government to create jobs and grow local businesses and industries, with a dedicated Regional Jobs Committee coming to the area.

Minister for Employment and Small Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development Di Farmer said the Palaszczuk Government was helping to create jobs, improve training opportunities, and drive economic activity right across Queensland through its COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan.

“As part of that plan we are setting up a Regional Jobs Committee here in Bundaberg,” Minister Farmer said.

“The Palaszczuk Government knows that the employment and training needs in Bundaberg are different to those in Townsville or Toowoomba.

“That’s why we developed Regional Jobs Committees, so those with the local expertise can engage with government and other stakeholders to make plans that work for where they are.

“The Bundaberg Regional Jobs Committee will bring together local industry groups, training providers, local and major employers, and employee representatives to help plan local training investment so that it matches local skill needs to drive regional job creation.”

Member for Bundaberg, Tom Smith, said the new Committee was great news for Bundaberg.

“I never miss an opportunity to speak with the Minister about our local Bundy businesses and how important it is to have local solutions. It is fantastic news that the next Regional Jobs Committee is going to be based right here in Bundaberg.

“It’s great that each committee has the flexibility to pursue their goals that will best support their local priorities.

“Bundaberg has been chosen as a central location for a Regional Jobs Committee to address the unemployment and youth unemployment across the Wide Bay.

“It will bring together a host of stakeholders on the ground such as businesses, training organisations and employers to make sure that we are creating the best opportunity for businesses to grow and play a role in reducing unemployment in our region.

“The RJC will be able to link employers and jobseekers through existing programs such as our successful Back to Work initiative which has up to $140 million over four years allocated in the latest budget.”

Bundy Windscreens owner Kerry Greig welcomed the announcement of a Bundaberg RJC.

“Having a Regional Jobs Committee here in Bundaberg will help businesses like mine link up with training organisations, schools, government and other local businesses to make sure we can all work together to find solutions that work specifically for our area,” Kerry said.

“For example, when I started fitting windscreens about 30 years ago, training consisted of a week with another fitter, then you were on your own.

“Innovations such as improved methods of fitting, the design of modern vehicles and windscreen accessories such as rain sensors and cameras, amongst many other things have made it vital that we have a up to date training program for the industry and that people looking for jobs or training in Bundaberg know that it’s in demand.”

Kerry has previously used Back to Work to hire two employees including apprentice Ngoc Pham, known as Andy.

“Back to Work is a really great program and if my business keeps growing I am considering putting on another apprentice and training them up to specialise in window tinting as part of my business expansion plans,” Kerry said.

“The Back to Work employment incentive was instrumental in my decision to employ Andy and receiving the payments helped the business through these interesting pandemic times.”

Minister Farmer said the Bundaberg Regional Jobs Committee is part of the $200 million Future Skills Fund to harness local resources for skills development and to build workforce resilience.

“The new committee will bring the number of RJCs state-wide to seven, with the six existing committees established in 2019 in Townsville, Mackay, Fraser Coast, Springfield, Redlands and Toowoomba,” Minister Farmer said.

“The existing committees are delivering some great results in their local areas by identifying gaps in local service delivery and fostering collaboration and local partnerships between industry representatives, employers, small business and government.

“For example, Toowoomba’s committee has organised two successful virtual jobs fairs, released a draft workforce strategy to help match training pathways to employer needs, and is planning a summit looking at local youth unemployment and opportunities.

“The extension of the Regional Jobs Committees is part of the Palaszczuk Government’s plan to create more jobs, strengthen our regions and develop the skills we will need in the future.”

The formation of Regional Jobs Committees was one of the key actions of the Skills for Queensland – Great Training for Quality Jobs Strategy and is a key action in the Big Plans for Small Business Strategy.

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