Blue Mountains News
Council Seeks Investment in Job Creator Programs following COVID-19
The elected Council endorsed a Mayoral Minute at the Meeting on 26 May, to advocate to State and Federal Governments to support cadetships, traineeships, apprenticeships and other employment generating programs that would target priority work programs and skill shortages in the local government sector.
Mayor Mark Greenhill said Job Creator programs would provide much needed stimulus to the Blue Mountains economy, after the bush fires and the COVID-19 pandemic.
“These types of programs have the potential to deliver long-term sustainable stimulus, especially if they target priority work, skill shortages in key areas and new technologies required into the future,” Mayor Greenhill said.
“Job creator programs could also be targeted to support underemployed and unemployed young people, providing career opportunities that support mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.”
The NSW Government has announced a $395 million economic stimulus package to safeguard council jobs, local services and infrastructure in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Blue Mountains City Council to date has not been eligible to access any of this funding as it does not meet the criteria set.
In addition to needing to meet the threshold of a 30% loss in revenue, the NSW government stimulus payment is accessible only where a Council has put employees on the Job Retention Allowance (JRA). The JRA is effective once Council has no safe or useful work for an employee and that employee has been temporarily stood down.
“Blue Mountains City Council has worked hard to redeploy staff and to avoid standing down any staff,” Mayor Greenhill said. “This means Council has not been eligible to access any of the economic stimulus package.”
“There is a real opportunity for State and Federal Governments to support local recovery through investing in and subsidising local government “job creator” programs.”
Since 2015, Council has provided more than 50 cadetships, apprenticeships and/or traineeships that allow people to learn on the job with structured training. These positions help to increase Council’s skill base and provide mentoring opportunities for existing staff.
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