Federal Minister Outlines Program in EXCLUSIVE Interview SMALLER HEADINGThe Redland City Council and the Bay Islands could be one of the first to benefit from the proposed Federal Government Work of the Dole scheme.In an EXCLUSIVE interview with The Friendly Bay Islander, the Hon Luke Hartsuyker who is the Federal Assistant Minister for Employment and Deputy Leader of the House and Member for Cowper, has outlined his plans.He is responsible for rolling out the new look Work-for-the Dole scheme. As well, his portfolio entails reforming Job Services Australia.He says councils like Redland City and high unemployment areas like the Southern Moreton Bay Islands would certainly qualify for the intended Work-for-the-Dole scheme.Mr Hartsuyker was responding to a personal request from The Friendly Bay Islander following our February edition story outlining the possibilities for the islands.This particularly related to the development of a tourism project involving a 21 km of raised timber walkway through wetlands on Russell and Macleay Islands.Other projects may also qualify.Mr Hartsuyker 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 Prime Minister is a strong supporter of this program and this direction."If a benefit is received, some form of work can be expected."It is a way of producing good outcomes to develop skills that could lead to a permanent job."This will not be just about work for the sake of it. The work will be linked to training and skill recognition," the Assistant Minister said.The program suggested by The Friendly Bay Islander for the islands would involve considerable skills that could lead to further employment.He said working in with local councils was a 'natural fit' with the program. Other organisations could also qualify."Councils already have in place areas of work involving gardens, outdoors, libraries and other services that could benefit by further workplace appointments thanks to the Work-for-Dole."It could also be used to build or restore important community infrastructure whilst providing meaningful training," Luke Hartsuyker said.For workers involved, the Assistant Minister said there would be 'benefits to participation'."Work and training can be linked to jobs; there will be better training results; and other benefits such as upskilling, relevant training and pride in work achievement," he said.Cr Mark Edwards and Redland City Council are keen to be first-in-line to benefit from the scheme."There are many applications where we can make use of this scheme. Mr Hartsuyker will definitely be hearing from us," the councillor said.
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