the Breeze

WORK-FOR-THE-DOLE FOR SMBI

March 6, 2014

Redland City Council Division 5 Councillor Mark Edwards is supporting council to approach the Federal Government to be part of the recently announced work-for-the-dole scheme.Cr Edwards believes the program could be useful to help build tourism infrastructure and improve the amenities of the Southern Moreton Bay Islands.He says one suggested project in particular could benefit the islands involving the construction of observation walking tracks through the bush and wetlands on the islands. Some time ago island conservation groups and others have promoted proposals to build raised walking tracks on both Russell and Macleay Islands to establish an important tourism attraction and destination. “Whilst the future tracks are yet to be fully assessed by Council, there are also other areas for similar development such as foreshore and streetscape beautification," he added. The councillor said other Local Government areas had taken full advantage of the proposal when it was first introduced by the Howard Government several years ago, with a huge benefit to the communities. • Wetlands decks previously built under the work-for-the-dole scheme.SUPPORT FOR WORK-FOR-THE-DOLE FOR SMBI TOURISM & BEAUTIFICATION It is known that many people who started out on those construction programs under the work-for-the-dole scheme had gone on to permanent jobs using the skills they had learned. "As I understand it, funds are available not just for the workers, but also towards the purchase of materials. "It could prove of huge value to the islands, and I believe many unemployed on the islands would be keen to be part of such an inspiring project."Redland City Council Mayor Karen Williams is enthusiastic for the proposal. She announced that she is writing to the Federal Government to express Redland City’s interest in being involved in this scheme. "I have asked Council officers to identify projects and work that may be eligible for funding under the proposed program," she said.In the plan announced by the Federal Government, local councils will be encouraged to recruit volunteers from Australia's army of 805,000 unemployed to pitch in with community chores, including rubbish collection, park maintenance, and other small projects.Non-profit aged care homes and charities are also expected to offer unpaid work to the unemployed.The "jobs program'' is likely to be limited to three-month stints, to prevent employers replacing their permanent workforce with unemployed volunteers.Assistant Minister for Employment Luke Hartsuyker said Prime Minister Tony Abbott was "very focused'' on expanding work-for-the dole.Mandatory work-for-the-dole was introduced under the Howard government in the 1990s, but the program was altered under Labor and unemployed people were no longer forced to participate.Mr Hartsuyker confirmed the Coalition's expanded scheme would be compulsory."I'm looking at new and innovative ways to involve people in work-for-the-dole,'' he said on Sunday."We are talking to not-for-profit entities about creating work-like placements for jobseekers so they can gain skills."We think everyone who is capable of working should be working.''

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