Jan 20, 2016

Jobs relief for sacked Townsville workers

Jobs relief for sacked Townsville workers

More than 430 jobs for North Queensland are to be supported under a Queensland Government Accelerated Works Program announced by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

Speaking at the Port of Townsville following a special meeting of the Working Queensland Cabinet Committee, Ms Palaszczuk said an extra $126 million in accelerated works had been identified on top of the $61 million in accelerated projects announced at the weekend, bringing the total to $187 million.

Ms Palaszczuk said among those projects was the upgrade of Berth 4 at the Port of Townsville.

“This is a $55 million project for Townsville and it supports 100 jobs,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“Tenders for the project close tomorrow and we can award the contract next month.

“In total, the Accelerated Works Program for North Queensland includes investment worth $187 million which supports 430 jobs.

“I met with workers who have been affected by what’s happening at Queensland Nickel this morning and I know how important it is we work to get the jobs and get the jobs now.

“The Accelerated Works Program is one step we can take. That’s why I’m also announcing today a five-point-plan to stimulate jobs in North Queensland.”

Ms Palaszczuk said the five-point plan included:

– Accelerated Works Program: A suite of public works advanced to provide immediate employment opportunities in the north.

– Expanding retraining and skills initiatives: Additional projects from the Skilling Queenslanders for Work program will be identified and brought forward.

– Attracting increased Commonwealth funding: The Queensland Government will continue to drive the Federal Government to deliver for the north, including matching funding for the Townsville Stadium

– Increasing tourism attraction: The Government will use its $10 million Attracting Aviation Investment Fund and its four-year $400 million commitment to Tourism and Events Queensland, both statewide funding initiatives, to attract more visitors and events to the Townsville region.

– Facilitating key private sector projects:  The Government will work with major project proponents in the region to fast-track a range of proposed capital works projects.

Projects listed for the Accelerated Works Program include:

  • Arnot Creek Bridge upgrade. A $10 million project supporting 31 jobs
  • Masters Rd-Lansens Rd upgrade. A $5.1 million project supporting 16 jobs
  • Veales Rd to Pope Rd. A $3.45 million project supporting 11 jobs.
  • Townsville Port Rd Road Train Decoupling Pad. A $1 million project supporting five jobs.
  • Berth 4 upgrade. A $55 million project supporting 100 jobs.
  • Townsville (Garbutt) depot upgrade Stage 2. A $42.5 million project supporting 60 jobs.
  • Bulk earthworks and trunk and civil works at the Village, Ooonoonba. A $9 million project supporting 27 jobs.

Meanwhile, Member for Herbert Ewen Jones said the Federal Government was providing $500,000 to assist retrenched workers from Queensland Nickel through a Structural Adjustment Program.

This would be delivered as part of jobactive, the Australian Government’s program to get people into work, he said.

“The Federal Government understands how critical the situation is for staff at Queensland Nickel and the potential impacts on the wider community and is doing all it can to assist the workers and the city at this time,” he said.

“While I’m working with my ministers, including the Prime Minister, Employment Minister and Northern Australia Minister, on ways to bring projects with long-term job prospects forward in the region, this Structural Adjustment Program will be that little bit of help in the short term for those hardest hit by the changes at QNI.”

To locate a local jobactive provider or to find out more about the support available, retrenched workers can call the Employment Services Information Line on 13 62 68 or go to www.jobactive.gov.au