New jobs pilot program for city
IPSWICH is set to be the location for a pilot program with Jobs Queensland to skill unemployed people to be ready for work after a direction from Deputy Premier Jackie Trad.
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale yesterday held talks with Ms Trad, also the Local Government Minister, and said she had also given him confidence Ipswich would be included in future state funding to stimulate jobs.
Ipswich was not within the boundaries of the recent Works for Queensland $200 million regional job package that went to regional councils.
That went to regional areas outside south-east Queensland. There is a saying that one of the best things about Ipswich is it is close to Brisbane and one of the worst things about Ipswich is that it is close to Brisbane.
That often plays out when it comes to funding.
Cr Pisasale's ire was raised when, as reported by the QT earlier this month, the Turnbull Government excluded Ipswich from the Building Better Region Funds which lumped Ipswich in with Brisbane.
Then when Ipswich was not included in the Works for Queensland package, the red mist descended.
"I sometimes feel as though Ipswich gets overlooked because we don't speak up enough and we are a community that does a lot ourselves," he said.
"But before Jackie arrived she sent Rachel Hunter, the chair of Jobs Queensland in Ipswich, to see me.
"Now there will be a pilot program set up here to identify all the skills we need in Ipswich so we can start skilling some people for the jobs in the area.
"That will start pretty soon."
Cr Pisasale said the details would be nutted out with Jobs Queensland and his economic development department.
Ms Trad said the Works for Queensland package announced in the mid-year budget last year was put forward by the Local Government Association.
She said the package was about councils "working with the government to stump up some money to really pump out projects through local councils to get people into work".
"The government made the decision that we would target that to regional councils outside of south-east Queensland," Ms Trad said.
"Of course, Paul has put up a compelling case around the unemployment statistics (of 8.3%) here in Ipswich, and there are other pockets in the south-east feeling the effects of a high unemployment rate.
"That is why I was pleased to have a chat to Paul about some successful programs we've had in the past...and if I get support from my cabinet colleagues we might be able to progress something similar."
Cr Pisasale said that is why he was pleased to initially have the input of Jobs Queensland with its pilot program.
On the back of that work, the QT understands that a State Government jobs package, which will include Ipswich, will be unveiled in the future.
"We are doing some work on this issue," Ms Trad said.
Cr Pisasale said that he and Ms Trad were now "looking at all the government programs to see how Ipswich can fit into the mix".
He said Ms Trad's visit had given him confidence a solution, and some further funding, would be forthcoming.
"There was no war (with the ALP), just an upset mayor who wants things fixed up straight away," he said.
"Mayors do fight for their regions and Jackie knows that.
"Her background is like mine and we understand what struggling families go through and what communities need.
"Our job is to try and position that into government policies."