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Assistant Minister Luke Howarth on ABC Capricornia Breakfast

Ministers:

The Hon Luke Howarth MP
Assistant Minister for Youth and Employment Services

E&OE 

PAUL CULLIVER:

Well, it might be you, or, it might be someone who's maybe a younger person in your life - a school leaver or just trying to figure out what is next in their career, in their employment in Central Queensland. Well, whatever it might be, you might be keen to get along to the Rockhampton Jobs Fair today. Someone who's keen to see you do that is Luke Howarth. He is the Assistant Minister for Youth and Employment Services for the Federal Government. Good morning to you.

LUKE HOWARTH:

Good morning. It's great to be on your program. And to your listeners, good morning as well.

PAUL CULLIVER:
Tell me, what is the Rockhampton Jobs Fair?

LUKE HOWARTH:

Well, look, yeah, it's a really great idea for people to get along. The Rockhampton Jobs Fair is on today - Friday, 11 March, 10am to 2.30pm at the Robert Schwarten Pavilion, Rockhampton Showgrounds. And what it's about is it's all about having the jobs in one place where people can connect directly with employers. 

So, as of today, there'll be well over 300 jobs on offer at the jobs fair today. And people that are perhaps looking to change jobs or maybe enter the workforce the first time, or are parents that are coming back to work, or older Australians that want to get back into the workforce or do a couple of days a week, there's jobs on offer today for everyone. And they'll have a better understanding of what employers want when hiring, and give them a competitive advantage over other job seekers if they attend today.

PAUL CULLIVER:

What are the kinds of industries that people can learn more about?

LUKE HOWARTH:

Well, some of the jobs on offer there today are with Centacare Central Queensland, which is in the care industry for NDIS and aged care support workers, domestic assistants, transport drivers, occupational therapists. So there are skilled jobs like occupational therapists. There’s diesel fitters, mechanics, service managers, workshop managers and bar attendants. There's Domino's Pizza who’re after team members – Domino’s are after a whole lot of team members. There's JRT Group of Companies that's after operators and drivers.

A couple of the councils are there today as well - the Livingstone Shire Council and the Rockhampton Regional Council - and they've got all sorts of jobs running in administration, gardeners, community engagement and events, cleaners, customer support, childcare workers. And then there's Sperry Tents, they’re after casual workers; and Thiess who are after production operators, trades, apprenticeships. So all of these people will be there. There'll be booths set up and all the jobs on a board with a number on it, so people can walk in and look at the jobs board and then go to the booth and find out more about that job.

PAUL CULLIVER:

Across regional Australia, it appears that the unemployment rate has dropped to quite a significantly low rate, something like 3.8 per cent - certainly that's clear in Central Queensland. There's many more job ads, it appears, than people wanting to take up that job. What is the Federal Government doing to try to meet that skill shortage?

LUKE HOWARTH:

Well, we're doing- Some of the skills shortages that we're doing in addressing programs like JobTrainer, where we're partnering the state governments all around the country - including the Queensland Government - to help people in the training. And part of the reason why there’s skills shortage as well is we lost some overseas workers that were here during COVID, so people went back home. But JobTrainer is helping address those skills, which is really important, having a lot of people in training. 

As you'll know, the Morrison Government's been doing that Boosting Apprenticeships schemes as well, which has got a whole lot more people into apprenticeships - school-based training apprenticeships and apprentices on the job. We’re basically paying part of the wage to help people become apprentices. So there's some of what we're doing.

And, as Jobactive providers too, we’re also working with people on the ground. And we've got a new tender out at the moment for the new employment services model, which starts from July 1. 

We're also trying to help people get their driver's licence. Because if you don't have your driver's licence, it does make it more difficult at times to find work. And through our Jobactive providers, there's an employment fund that can help people get lessons. Because obviously, in Queensland, Queensland Government law states you need 100 hours for a driver's licence. 

So that's part of what we're doing. I do want to stress, there are skilled jobs there today, but there's also unskilled jobs that people could go and be involved with. So, if you're not working, there's a real opportunity to change your life.

PAUL CULLIVER:

Tanya Plibersek, the Shadow Minister for Education, was in Rockhampton recently. She was saying that the Rocky region has lost around 900 apprentices and trainees since the Federal Government came to office. Did the Federal Government drop the ball here?

LUKE HOWARTH:

No, well, as I just said, we've been doing the Boosting Apprenticeship scheme, which has seen a record amount of people coming to apprentices. So this is not just in Rockhampton, but right around the country. So the reality is, is that the Australian Government is doing a lot in this space, rather than talking down what's happening and being negative like we often see from the Opposition. 

The facts are that there's never been a better time for people to change their life. They can get an apprenticeship now; they can get into JobTrainer. We're bringing the Australian Government's jobs fair to Rockhampton today. Don't miss it, because it might not be back for a while. The Member up there, the Honourable Michelle Landry, will be there opening it this morning at 10 o'clock, so you can talk to her as well. But please, I just encourage everyone to attend today, 10am until 2.30.

PAUL CULLIVER:

Luke Howarth, Assistant Minister for Youth and Employment Services, appreciate your time today. Thank you.

LUKE HOWARTH:

Have a great day. Bye.

PAUL CULLIVER:

Of course, of the Federal Government, calling in there.

ENDS