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8 August, 2020

Unemployed knocking back jobs

Employers across regional Queensland are struggling to fill vacant jobs, despite unemployment rising during the coronavirus pandemic.

By Phil Brandel

In June, Queensland's unemployment rate hit 7.7 per cent. The national unemployment rate is 7.1 per cent.

But across industries such as hospitality, agriculture and construction, regional employers are seeking workers, with not enough to be found.

Employers across regional Queensland are struggling to fill vacant jobs, despite unemployment rising during the coronavirus pandemic.

Many employers feel the Federal Government's increased JobSeeker payments are acting as a major disincentive to work.

Wayne Costa from Ace Cabinets in Tolga has been looking for qualified cabinetmakers since May and says he could hire three people tomorrow if they had the right qualifications.

“I’ve been looking for cabinetmakers who are trade qualified and I can’t find them. I’ve managed to hire a guy who had been out of the game for a while and I also hired an apprentice who didn’t work out.” He said

“Some of the big companies in Cairns have let staff go and I thought with all of them looking for work, I could get them to come up here,

“But they either don’t want to relocate or work up here on the Tablelands. Most of the people who apply for my jobs are backpackers with no qualifications.”

Wayne said that a lot of employers are complaining that they can’t get staff as potential employees would rather stay on Jobseeker.

“A lot of people don’t want to work due to Jobseeker, I get applications from people who are unqualified and who don’t want the job, but they have to apply for a certain amount of positions every week, so they can keep getting paid.”

Jillian Trout who is the General Manager of recruiting firm QITE said that she doesn’t believe that it’s all about the money.

“In the past, if someone declined work there was a report we could put through to Centrelink and then Centrelink could suspend their payments,“ she said

“But during COVID there were no reports to be put through to Centrelink, so there were no mutual obligations. So people wouldn’t be penalised for knocking back a job.

“Those reports came back as of last week when the Prime Minister has announced that refusal of work will be reported to Centrelink and then jobseekers may lose their payments.

Ms Trout said that the new rules are a welcome relief, “Yes there has been someone experiences with people turning down work. “

“Some reasoning is valid due to travel or a lack of transport and there has also been a backlog at the department of transport for people to get there licence.”

According to The Department of Education, Skills and Employment from August 4, job seekers with employment service providers must:

Participate in at least one phone or online appointment with their provider, review and agree to a job plan.

Conduct up to four job searches, monthly.

Participate in activities – either online or in person, if available and safe to do so.

Accept suitable paid work.






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