UPDATED: Canberran jobs fund extended by $8 million creating an extra 100 opportunities

Dominic Giannini 9 June 2020
Andrew Barr

Chief Minister and Treasurer Andrew Barr is set to announce an extra $8 million for the Government’s signature jobs fund. Photo: Region Media.

The ACT Government is pumping an extra $8 million into its Jobs for Canberrans fund to create an extra 100 jobs in the Territory.

The injection brings the fund up to $28 million, creating a total of 500 jobs for out-of-work Canberrans during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Government is set to announce the fund’s expansion today (Tuesday, 9 June) as part of Canberra’s Recovery Plan.

“These jobs are targeted at Canberrans who lost their job due to COVID-19 and are ineligible for the Commonwealth’s JobKeeper program, including people who previously relied on casual employment, international visa holders and international students,” a spokesperson for the Chief Minister said.

“By supporting more Canberrans through employment, we are providing a direct cash support to struggling households who are also able to make a significant contribution to our community. This will lead to more money being spent in our local economy, helping to drive the economic recovery.”

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said that although the new jobs are casual and temporary, it would not leave the same people unemployed next year, as opportunities to progress within the ACT public sector can lead to new career paths for some Canberrans.

“I think what will be the case for the staff we have taken on through these programs is that many will progress through ACT Government employment ranks and opportunities,” he said.

“If that is their career progression and their desire then they would be able to move into either part-time or full-time roles depending on their circumstances.

“Across our employment base … we would have the opportunity to ensure that individuals who come through this program and want to still be part of the ACT Government would have every opportunity to apply for a range of further jobs.”

Mr Barr said that roles would be focused for the health and education sectors, which make up 50 per cent of the ACT’s 20,000 strong public sector workforce.

“This cannot solely be an infrastructure-led economic recovery,” he said, flagging that young people and women would need to be particularly focused on during the recovery phase.

“When you look at where employment has been lost in the ACT economy and indeed in the Australian economy, it has a particular focus on young people and women. We also need to focus our economic recovery effort on young people and women.

“We, as an employer, have around two-thirds of our staff as women and we know we need to continue to recruit young people into the ACT public service. These programs achieve both of those goals.”

The Government has also attempted to boost the Territory’s economic recovery by subsidising skills training courses to address skills and hiring shortages on the other side of the pandemic.

Minister for Tertiary Education Chris Steel says more than 1,000 Canberrans have enrolled in some 2,000 subsidised training places that are available across 60 qualifications and 39 skill sets.

“What we’re seeing is many Canberrans who are now out of work taking up training to gain new skills and re-enter the workforce on the other side,” Mr Steel said.

“We know sectors like early childhood, disability, aged care and construction have skills shortages, so this is an opportunity for Canberrans to move into new vocations where jobs are available.”

A further 3,800 fully-funded training places to support the accelerated uptake of accredited infection control and food handling training were made available last Friday (5 June).

Access Canberra has also hired 17 new staff members to answer calls in the contact centre, which includes the dedicated COVID-19 Helpline.

More than 10,000 calls were made to the helpline since it was established in April and 70,000 calls were made in total in May.

New roles under the fund will be finalised over the coming weeks and made available online via the Casual Jobs Register.

For more information on the fund, eligibility and how to apply, visit the COVID-19 website.

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