CREATING JOBS: Employment Minister Grace Grace and Bundaberg MP Leanne Donaldson meeting with local agriculture experts in Bundaberg at the second Local Jobs First roundtable.
CREATING JOBS: Employment Minister Grace Grace and Bundaberg MP Leanne Donaldson meeting with local agriculture experts in Bundaberg at the second Local Jobs First roundtable. Jim Alouat

Minister meets with ag reps

BUNDABERG'S agriculture sector is a mammoth job-creating machine and is responsible for a whopping $686 million Gross Regional Product for the region each year.

And the State Government knows how vital it is to the local economy.

Employment Minister Grace Grace met with local and industry experts in Bundaberg Wednesday at the second Local Jobs First roundtable, with a heavy focus on agriculture.

"This government's number one priority is job creation and we are doing all we can to harness every opportunity to create local employment outcomes,” Ms Grace said.

"I wanted to get the best minds together to hear from local industry and businesses on the best way to deliver on local jobs first.”

Ms Grace said the Bundaberg roundtable, following on from the Townsville meeting on April 27, would focus squarely on agriculture and the opportunities that exist for employment in this sector.

"We know there is increasing demand for exports of food and fibre from Queensland, which presents significant employment opportunities,” she said.

"However, there also appears to be a lack of interest in the number of young people interested in a career in agriculture.

"I'm keen to hear from the local industry experts who are both impacted by these issues and have significant experience in the sector to discuss these issues further.”

Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson said the roundtable was important because it offered the opportunity for local agriculture representatives to meet face-to-face with the employment minister.

"We know that we can't take our eye off the ball when it comes to job creation,” Ms Donaldson said.

"We have a workforce network officer here from Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers and her job is to ensure that she she's working with the government (and) we believe as a government that the industry is expert in what their needs are.”

Ms Donaldson said the Back to Work Regional Employment Package was proving a big success in Bundaberg.

"In Wide Bay alone, 670 people are now back at work due to this program, including 328 through the youth boost component,” Ms Donaldson said.



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