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 1,500 people in the Rockhampton Region and Livingstone Shire 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 Rockhampton, Barry O’Rourke, said the Back to Work program had made a big difference.
“Since 2016 over $9 million has helped 888 people get jobs in 417 businesses in the Rockhampton electorate alone,” Mr O’Rourke said.
“Back to Work will give businesses the confidence to take a chance on the new staff they need to grow, and I am so pleased the Palaszczuk Government is making this $140 million investment.
“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.
“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 Keppel, Brittany Lauga, said she welcomed the focus on young people.
“This program helps all Queenslanders, but especially our young people here in Keppel looking for their first job,” Ms Lauga said.
“We are unashamedly focussed on getting our young people in the regions into jobs.
“These payments will create genuine, long-term employment outcomes.
“With more than $5.7 million invested in Keppel since 2016 – helping 542 people get jobs at 252 businesses – I am sure the money spent over the next four years is going to help a lot of people.”
Rockhampton AW Drilling owner Wayne Ball hired a new employee, Jaleel, thanks to Back to Work.
“Jaleel has matured so much in his time with the business and has gone on to start an apprenticeship with the company,” Wayne said.
“Jaleel has been brilliant. I have been able to take on more work than I would have before.
“The funding has helped with training Jaleel who is doing his apprenticeship in fitting and machinery. Back to Work has taken the financial stress away so that the business can concentrate on helping Jaleel succeed.”
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.