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Gov't provides incentive to hire

WAGE Connect is a subsidy making great inroads into local long-term unemployment.

Richmond MP Justine Elliot said through it 80 unemployed people from her electorate had found work this year.

"I've learned from meeting with local residents in my community that once you've been unemployed for a long period of time, it can be tremendously difficult to find a new job," Mrs Elliot said.

"This new government subsidy provides an incentive for local employers to give someone who has been living on income support for many years the chance to get off the dole and into paid work."

Wage Connect pays a wage subsidy to employers who take on and retain eligible job seekers.

The subsidy of about $5700 is the equivalent of the average rate of Newstart Allowance over 26 weeks and helps offset wage and training costs for the first six months of a person's employment.

It supports jobs for people who have been on income support payments for at least the past two years with little or no recent work experience.

Mrs Elliot said the subsidy had allowed some previously long-term unemployed "greater financial independence and the ability to provide for themselves and their families".

"It's great to see that this program is also delivering jobs for mature age job seekers, people who are homeless, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and job seekers with disability."

A Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations spokesman said 32 job placements for seekers living in the southern Gold Coast McPherson electorate had been found this year.

McPherson MP Karen Andrews said supporting long-term unemployed peoples' access to employment was a positive move.

"Unemployment levels on the Southern Gold Coast, particularly on the border area, are higher than the national average so we know that we need to concentrate efforts in this area to improve employment," Mrs Andrews said.

"However, underemployment is (also) a significant issue that must be addressed. 

"There are many full-time workers who are available to work additional hours but have had their regular overtime hours cut back; part-time and casual workers who have had their hours reduced; and women who want to return but cannot secure employment." 

Employment Participation Minister Kate Ellis said the Australian Government was committed to ensuring the benefits of paid work were extended to more Australians.

"I want to congratulate each and every one of these newly employed Richmond residents, who have had their lives and the lives of their families transformed by this government initiative," Ms Ellis said.

"We know that the benefits of having a good job extend far beyond collecting a fortnightly pay cheque and I hope that all of these Richmond residents find their work fulfilling and rewarding."

Job seekers interested in participating in Wage Connect should speak to their employment services provider.

Visit this website or phone 13 17 15 for more information.

Topics:  career, government, job creation, justine elliot, unemployment, wage connect



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