TWO EXTREMES: Long job wait times but best outlook in decade
THE highs and lows of the region's job market have been highlighted in new figures revealing unenviable wait times despite the Fraser Coast's best investment outlook in a decade.
An analysis of Australian Bureau of Statics data statistics shows job seekers are waiting an average of 26 weeks in the Wide Bay to get their foot in the door. But while job agencies confirm five to 10 extra people inquire about employment in the region per week, they say wait times vary depending on the industry.
Local politicians are also adamant work is being done to ease the region's ongoing jobless pain.
Infrastructure contracts linked to the Hinkler Regional Deal in the Bay and the Rheinmetall Nioa munitions factory in the Heritage City are also tipped to help with the turn-around.
Member for Maryborough Bruce Saunders said job-creating training and support programs in the Maryborough and Wide Bay area had supported more than 6000 jobs in the region.
"More than 3000 people have gone through Skilling Queenslanders for Work training with 2170 people finding work or further training after completing a Skilling Queenslander for Work Program," he said.
"That's in addition to over 3500 job seekers assisted through our Back to Work program and 400 jobs supported under Building our Regions."
Hervey Bay MP Ted Sorensen said he believed Hervey Bay echoed trends in much of regional Queensland.
"Some people can get a job straight away, it just depends on what industry you are in," he said.
"Sometimes someone comes to town for a professional job but their partner can't get work as the region might not have the demand in the right profession.
"I think to battle the youth unemployment rate we could use the TAFE and colleges to get students to learn a trade because not everyone can be a doctor or a lawyer.
"I've seen some of the kids securing jobs before they have even left school when they are in trade training programs.
"I've also noticed a trend of losing a lot of young people after they leave school and they come back in their mid 30s."
Hinkler MP Keith Pitt said should it go ahead, the $173 million Hinkler Regional Deal would allow work to start on crucial infrastructure projects such as the redevelopment of the CBD in Hervey Bay and the expansion at Hervey Bay Airport, leading to more local jobs.
"To help strengthen our regions the Australian Government is investing in innovative local solutions through the $18.4 million Regional Employment Trials program. The Regional Employment Trials program enables local stakeholders in 10 disadvantaged regions, including Wide Bay Burnett, to identify local employment challenges and put forward targeted solutions.
"Through the program, Employment Facilitator Austin Ryann works directly with employers and workers to connect them with training, job opportunities and to link them with other existing support in the Wide Bay region." When asked if given these numbers, more flexibility should be given to those doing the right thing to opt out of the cashless debit card trial, Mr Pitt responded "participants can apply to exit the trial with applications considered on a case-by-case basis".
Federal Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien said the figures demonstrated the need for the significant investments he had worked on securing for the region.
"I've secured $800 million towards the construction of the Cooroy to Curra Section D project that will better connect Maryborough to Brisbane," he said.
"This project will create jobs through the construction phase and support the growth of business and industry in Maryborough by improving freight efficiency.
"I've also secured $28.5 million from the Liberal and Nationals Government's Regional Growth Fundd to establish the Rheinmetall Nioa projectile forging plant in Maryborough, creating new defence industry jobs.
"I have committed $18 million to support Maryborough's iconic sugar industry, sustaining and creating 600 jobs on farms, in transport and at the mill.
"The timber industry is another key driver of Maryborough's economy and I have delivered a $1.75 million investment to create new jobs at Dale and Meyers Timber for a new product line. "All up, these projects will create and support around 1000 jobs in the Maryborough district alone.
"I'm also working on building better pathways between school, training and work to boost youth employment.
"A new National Industry Training Hub will be established in Maryborough, strengthening partnerships between local schools, employers and industries, and ensure that vocational education programs are tailored to meet local workforce needs and skills demands.
"Young people aged 15-24 will also be eligible to apply for a scholarship, valued at up to $17,500 each, to undertake an eligible VET Approved Program of Study at the Certificate III to Advanced Diploma level."