Joint Media Release with the Hon. Steve Gibbons MP, Member for BendigoA group of job seekers is helping to restore a piece of Bendigo history as well as further the local tourism industry.The Minister for Employment Participation, Brendan O'Connor, and the Member for Bendigo, Steve Gibbons, today visited Bendigo’s tramways and met with job seekers who have been working to restore historic trams as part of two Work for the Dole projects.The restored trams will be put to use on the Bendigo Tramways tourist tram route, a popular local tourist attraction. “The tramways are an iconic tourist attraction in Bendigo so participants are restoring an important piece of the city’s history as well as helping to boost the local tourist industry,” Mr O’Connor said.“Participants have also gained new skills and trades undertaking a range of tasks as part of the projects including sanding, painting, varnishing, repairing upholstery and basic mechanical work—all skills that will help them in gaining future jobs.”The projects were developed by the Salvation Army Employment Plus and CVGT. Mr Gibbons said as well as an important tourist facility, the Bendigo Tramways was an important community facility.“The Bendigo trust has preserved and operated the tramways since 1972, and now has 38 trams within its fleet. The tramways operate year round carrying more than 55,000 people a year,” Mr Gibbon’s saidThe Australian Government has reviewed the current employment services including the Work for the Dole program.“Projects such as this, which provide useful work experience and real a skill development opportunities for job seekers will remain an important part of the new Employment Services System, which begins on 1 July 2009,” Mr O’Connor said.