Australia: Key policy initiatives in Queensland: Workplace Relations & Safety

Last Updated: 18 December 2017
Article by Rachel Drew

Most Read Contributor in Australia, March 2019

A suite of initiatives impacting Queensland workplaces have been announced by the Palaszczuk Government. We outline the key policies below.

Work Ready Queensland: Extending the Back to Work Program ($155m)

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk promised that if Labor is re-elected, the Labor Government will invest $155m in funding to extend the Back to Work Program to July 2021. This is in addition to the $177.5 million already budgeted for the Back to Work program. The program assists disadvantaged jobseekers, such as young people, long-term unemployed and mature-aged workers.

Under the Back to Work program, employers are eligible for up to:

  • $10,000 for hiring an unemployed worker
  • $15,000 for hiring a long-term unemployed worker (a person unemployed for 52 weeks or more)
  • $20,000 Youth Boost for hiring a young jobseeker aged 15-24 years.

Under the Back to Work program, the Labor Government have proposed a 'boost' for employers who take on a mature aged job seekers. The 'boost' mimics the Youth Boost, and employers who employ jobseekers over 55 will be eligible for up to $20,000. This will commence on 1 January 2018, ending on 30 June 2018.

You can read the policy here.

Work Ready Queensland: Skilling Queenslanders for Work ($180m)

The Skilling Queenslanders for Work program will be extended and 'boosted' with an additional $180 million in funding over three years by the Labor Government. Expenditure on the Skilling Queenslanders for Work Program will total $420 million by 2020-2021 due to the proposed increase in funding. This program plays a critical role by improving work opportunities for disadvantaged Queenslanders, and is comprised of various targeted programs, including:

  • Community Work Skills program, where non-profit community organisations deliver tailored assistance to disadvantaged Queenslanders to gain nationally-recognised skills and qualifications up to Certificate III level
  • Work Skills Traineeships program, where community organisations/local councils employ long-term unemployed/disadvantaged job seekers to undertake community works through traineeships
  • Get Set for Work program, where community organisations provide disengaged young people aged 15 – 19 years with nationally-recognised training so they can transition to employment or further their education
  • Ready for Work program, where community organisations and school P&Cs deliver basic job preparation and employability skills to those aged 15 to 24 years
  • Youth Skills program, where community organisations assist 15 to 24 year olds engaged with the Youth Justice Services and QLD Corrective Services with nationally-recognised training to support them into employment
  • Work Start program, a one off financial incentive of $10,000 to eligible private sector employers who offer traineeships or apprenticeships to individuals who have participated in the above programs
  • First Start program, where wage subsidies are provided to local councils and non-profit community organisations to employ additional trainees.

You can read the policy here.

Extending Works for Queensland ($200m)

A re-elected Labor Government has pledged they will provide up to $200m of additional funding to extend the Works for Queensland program until 2020-2021. This will support job-creating infrastructure works across regional Queensland, bringing the total commitment to $600m.

According to the policy document, Works for Queensland under the Palaszczuk Government will:

  • Generate local jobs outside south east Queensland, meaning up to 6000 extra jobs will be supported by the program extension
  • Build much needed infrastructure in regional areas in partnership with councils
  • Improve the disaster resilience of regional communities.

You can read the policy here.

Growing Tourism, Growing Tourism Jobs - Attracting new major events to Queensland ($36m)

The Labor Government has pledged to invest up to $36m for a new "Regional Tourism Infrastructure and Experience Development Program" to assist communities to grow tourism by developing new and improved tourism experiences, products, and to develop the tourism industry capability. The policy provides that this program will provide grants of up to $500,000 on a dollar-for-dollar matched funding basis to local councils, tourism businesses and community organisations. The Queensland Tourism Industry Council forecast that over the next three years more than 20,000 new jobs are expected to be created in the Queensland tourism industry. In the same policy, the Labor Government also pledged up to $48m for a new "Attracting Tourism Fund" to provide incentives to attract new international cruise ships and airline routes to Queensland, and proposes an extension of the Young Tourism Leaders Program.

You can read the policy here.

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.

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