The Bay Islands are in an excellent position to take advantage of the new Federal Government work-for-the-dole scheme.
The final plan for the scheme is yet to be rolled out by the Federal Government, but early work by our islands, Cr Mark Edwards and Mayor Karen Williams, could see island projects near the top of the list.
This follows an 'exclusive' interview last month with the Federal Member for Cowper, the Hon Luke Hartsuyker, who is the Assistant Minister given the responsibility for the introduction of the new employment program, as well as reforming Job Services Australia.
The Friendly Bay Islander got the opportunity to put the case for the program on the Southern Moreton Bay Islands, particularly the 21km raised timber walkway project through the wetlands on Russell and Macleay Islands, initially suggested by the Bay Islands Conservation group
Mr Hartsuyker told us that councils like Redland City and high unemployment areas like the Southern Moreton Bay Islands would qualify for the intended Work-for-the-Dole scheme.
He said the program he intends is not just about working for the sake of it.
"It will be about achieving outcomes for all concerned."
He said his proposals were 'still a work in progress', but admitted that the outline for the program would be 'finalised soon'.
The Assistant Minister said work-for-the-dole involved 'mutual obligation' and a 'meaningful work experience'.
The resultant publicity and comments from Mayor Karen Williams in her March column in The Friendly Bay Islander have brought forward more likely work-for-the-dole projects.
The suggestions so far involve projects that would help develop island tourist attractions.
One suggestion is the need of 'mini marinas' because of the lack of mooring and tie-up facilities for visiting boats.
Cr Edwards said: "We are a boating community and more visitation would result from such a facility.
"The official island jetties only allow minimal stays and don't allow for safe and secure visiting moorings," he said.
"Specially designed mooring facilities could be designed that could suit all islands, which would require considerable manual effort to construct," Ed A'Bear said.
There are many other project possibilities.
Cr Mark Edwards says he wishes to hear from islanders who have any suggestions that would be suitable as part of the work-for-the dole scheme.
He said he would be working with council officers to ensure that island projects were 'high up the list' in suggestions for scheme projects to the Federal Government.
"We need to act now to be among the first to be considered, and that means we need to fulfil all qualifying criteria," the councillor said.
Cr Edwards extended his 'appreciation' to The Friendly Bay Islander 'for being proactive and supporting the community by engaging with the Minister.'
Send your ideas to Cr Edwards via email to: Cr Mark Edwards <Mark.Edwards@redland.qld.gov.au>