Release type: Transcript


Interview - ABC Northern Tasmania Breakfast with Belinda King


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

SUBJECT: Devonport Jobs Fair 


BELINDA KING: It’s been a hell of a 12 months hasn’t it? It’s just been extraordinary. Who would have thought in January last year, that we would be staring down the barrel of a pandemic and the incredible job losses that came with the shutdown that was required to get the virus under control in our country. But now, now it's well and truly time to reawaken and get back to work. The Australian Government is hosting a Jobs Fair today, and this is on the north west coast. It's going to be in Devonport. Let's find out a little bit more about what's on offer and if there are definitely real jobs, real jobs, ready and waiting to be had. The Australian Minister for Youth and Employment Services is Luke Howarth, who is with us this morning. Good morning, Luke.

LUKE HOWARTH: Good morning, Belinda. Great to be with you this morning.

BELINDA KING: Yeah, it's good to have you on deck. So tell me a little bit about the Jobs Fair and bringing it all together? We’ve – we're looking at trying to find some work for people. Do we have the jobs there?

LUKE HOWARTH: Yeah, look, it's really important. We want to find jobs for people and give them every opportunity to get back into work. I’m in Devonport, obviously, this morning and we’ve just finished the Jobs Fair down in Hobart on Tuesday. There are jobs available on the day. At the moment, there's up to 750 jobs on offer and there's over 30 exhibitors. Now, not every job is available on the day. Some might be, for example, starting in May or June. But 750 jobs on offer. And it's in a really easy to see format. All the jobs are put up on the boards. So there's a couple of boards, people can socially distance, spread out, and have a look at the jobs on offer there in Devonport today.

BELINDA KING: So, let's just hop down to Hobart for a sec, because that one's been done and dusted. Were there some tangible results from the fair down there?

LUKE HOWARTH: There was. There was a lady down there that ran part of the Marriott Hotel chain, and she was there. She was a human resource officer and she had jobs that were available there on the day. I was at the Jobs Fair there from probably 9:30 in the morning to about 1:45 and I spoke to a lot of job seekers personally, myself, and there was some good results. I was able to connect some of the job seekers there with the Department of Education, Skills and Employment staff. There’ll be about 30 staff there in vests, and they'll be able to take questions. There's also sessions on what – how to help job seekers. For example, there's free resume writing tips. There's also free interview tips. And we also have the Chamber of Commerce. There are other employers that employ real people. And they spoke to the job seekers about what employers want when hiring. And that was valuable information because it gave them an understanding of what employers want when making the decision. So, if you didn't walk away on the day with a job, a lot of people walked away with new skills and new networking, new contacts they had, and a whole lot of jobs they could apply for.

BELINDA KING: Okay, so let's bring it to the north west coast now. You say 700 – around 750 jobs are on offer. Not all of them necessarily beginning today. As you've mentioned, some will start in a couple of months’ time. What sort of positions are they? What sort of work are we talking about here?

LUKE HOWARTH: Yes, well, there's over 30 apprenticeships and traineeships that are there, but some of the different employers and jobs that will be there; you've got Simplot who have production operators, forklift operators and labourers available. There’s Costa, who are after raspberry pickers. Sustainable Timber Tasmania has a coordinator of roading, harvesting, sales and forest officers. There's also a job as a tree measurer. I didn't know that, but there is. Anglicare Tasmania has home care workers. Now that is a real growth industry in the care sector. So home care, for aged care, child care and disability care with NDIS. Mead Con have ICT administration and a bricklaying apprenticeship. Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge have a kitchen hand, a chef, room attendants, food and beverage attendants and a handy person. FIPG have meat processing roles. And the last example I’ve got here is Richmond Fellowship Tasmania has a mental health nurse, administrator and business systems and support workers. So, there's some of the jobs that are available.

BELINDA KING: So, Luke Howarth, the Government's focus as we've come out from under COVID in terms of JobMaker and getting people back to work, tends to be in the younger demographics. Is there something for older people, 50-plus?

LUKE HOWARTH: There definitely is. Look, as the Assistant Minister for Youth and Employment Services, you know, I'm very focussed on young people. But absolutely there are opportunities for mature age people as well. So if you're over 50, there are government incentives to hire people over 50. But people over 50 bring a whole lot of experience that sometimes younger people don't have, too. And in many of the roles that are on offer today too, they want someone that's got a little bit more experience, that can build rapport quickly with customers. Even in sales jobs and things, it's not always younger people that are best suited. It may be older people. So there is definitely jobs for mature age workers as well.

BELINDA KING: Have we wound back JobKeeper too soon?

LUKE HOWARTH: Look, I think it's been just about right. It obviously went six months longer than originally planned. It went for 12 months. I’m from Queensland, and the time that I’ve spent in Tasmania this week, it's a great state. It looks like people are very much getting back into work. So, I'm really confident about this area and doing well. In Devonport, the unemployment rate is slightly higher than the national unemployment rate. But I think it's – I think there's great opportunities today, so to all your listeners, please, get along today to the Jobs Fairs. Can I just plug where it’s at? [Indistinct]…

BELINDA KING: [Talks over] Please.

LUKE HOWARTH: It’s at Providore Place, 17 Oldaker Street, Devonport. So, Providore Place, 17 Oldaker Street, Devonport. And it runs from 9am through to 4pm. Obviously people – it's probably too late to register today so people can just come to 17 Oldaker Street, Devonport and we'll sign them in and there'll be lots of people there to help them.

BELINDA KING: Yes. Bring your Check in Tas app and go. Luke Howarth, thank you very much for joining us. All the best for the fair today. I hope we can get some people back into work.

LUKE HOWARTH: Thanks very much. Have a great day.

BELINDA KING: Assistant Minister for Youth and Employment Services, Luke Howarth.