JOBS BOOST: Annastacia Palaszczuktakes a tour of  Austchilli with Leanne Donaldson and Grace Grace. Photo: Eliza Goetze / NewsMail
JOBS BOOST: Annastacia Palaszczuktakes a tour of Austchilli with Leanne Donaldson and Grace Grace. Photo: Eliza Goetze / NewsMail Eliza Goetze

126 Wide Bay businesses hire 177 locals

MORE than 120 businesses have employed 177 jobseekers across the Wide Bay since the State Government launched its $100 million Back to Work program.

It's seen $769,500 paid out to Wide Bay businesses since the employment subsidy program began in July last year.

Overall, the Wide Bay sits in third position behind North Queensland (247 employees) and Far North Queensland (246 employees) in terms of securing grants for new jobs.

From December, the government doubled the existing incentive for the Back to Work Youth boost from $10,000 to $20,000 for regional employers who hired a jobseeker aged 15-24.

Austchilli general manager Ian Gaffel said it was a positive initiative and one that had paid off for Austchilli

"We have put about three or four people on under the program,” he said.

"Our spending on local wages at end of June 30 last year was about $7.7 million.

"I've been doing this for 12 years and what motivates me most is what we spend on local wages each year.”

The $20,000 offer expires on February 28, then it reverts back to $10,000.

Bundaberg MP Leanne Donaldson urged local businesses to take a chance on their ideas for expansion or take on new employees to explore new opportunities.

"The Back to Work program has been an incredibly successful program around Queensland and the Wide Bay region has been a leader in accessing this $100 million fund,” she said.

"We all know that unemployment is a major challenge in Bundaberg, which is why we've implemented programs like our Back to Work budget to encourage local employers to take on more workers.

"This is a direct cash injection that gives businesses the confidence and impetus to try new things, to innovate, to be leaders in their industries.”

Ms Donaldson said the $20,000 almost entirely paid the annual wage of a new employee.

"So businesses can take a chance on expanding their operations and trialling new products or services if their New Year's resolution was to explore new opportunities,” she said.



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