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Programs aim to get jobseekers back into the workforce

Glenys Schuntner, CEO, Regional Development Australia Townsville and North West Queensland, Noel Gertz, Managing Director, On Common Country and Duncan Chalmers, Manager – Central and North Queensland Regional Office, Australian Government Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business.

Two new employment programs will help more than 100 Townsville jobseekers to transition into the workforce, after receiving funding through the Australian Government’s Regional Employment Trials program (RETP).

On Common Country and Multicultural Development Australia (MDA) have received a total of $215,400 in funding to implement their programs.

On Common Country Managing Director Noel Gertz said Pathways into the Townsville Regional Employment Opportunities (PITREO) would focus on 45 local jobseekers.

“The Regional Employment Trial approval presents a timely boost of additional funds to prepare and train local unemployed jobseekers,” Mr Gertz said.

“With these concentrated resources, On Common Country will be able to contribute to the regional goal of producing suitably prepared local labour for the regional infrastructure and resource sector workforce needs.”

MDA’s Better Futures will extend the ParentsNext program by working closely with current ParentsNext Participants as well as parents who have exited from the program and are required to seek employment.

The program will assist 60 participants with skills development, work experience and transition into employment.

“Parents are role‐models for their children, this program is designed to assist parents to escape the trap of welfare dependency and be able to better provide for their families.

Intergenerational unemployment places a significant financial cost on society. Working parents decrease dependency on welfare, are enabled to contribute by paying taxes and improve their overall quality of life. By assisting parents to start work everyone wins.”

The Regional Development Australia Townsville and North West Queensland (RDA) region is one of 10 trial sites across the country to run the RETP.

RDA plays a critical role in assessing and scoring proposals for recommendation to the Australian Government.

RDA CEO Glenys Schuntner said RDA had partnered with the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business to implement the program.

“With the unemployment rate in our region higher than the state average at 8.3% (March 2019), these new programs will play a vital role in helping jobseekers overcome the challenges of getting back into the workforce,” Ms Schuntner said.

More information is available at www.rdanwq.org.au and www.employment.gov.au/regional‐employment‐trials‐program