An army of cleaners and community support workers will join the battle to slow the spread of coronavirus in a new initiative backed by the Victorian Government’s Working for Victoria fund.
The $500 million Working for Victoria program is matching people who have lost their job due to the economic impacts of coronavirus with employers who need staff. More than 2,750 Victorians have found positions through Working for Victoria since the program was launched last month.
The government has struck agreements with an initial 28 councils across Victoria to support more than 2,300 people into jobs that include land and asset management, community outreach, hardship relief delivery and crisis co-ordination. Council workers who have been stood down may be redeployed into these new roles.
The cities of Melbourne, Maribyrnong, Yarra, Port Phillip and Stonnington have led the way in employing and training people to perform tasks including deep cleaning of public assets such as drinking fountains and disinfecting surfaces such as handrails, street furniture, playgrounds, tram stops, traffic signal boxes and mailboxes.
Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade Martin Pakula, said the fund is about creating jobs for people in need and providing benefits for local communities.
“We’re speaking with more councils about opportunities to create jobs in communities across Victoria through this vital program.”
Last month, the government announced a $1.7 billion Economic Survival Package for the hardest hit businesses and workers who required urgent and immediate support. The package included payroll tax refunds worth $550 million and the $500 million Business Support Fund.
The Business Support Fund is dedicated to small businesses that do not pay payroll tax and which operate in those sectors of the economy that were most directly affected or severely impacted by the shutdowns ordered to protect public health and save lives.
Businesses in sectors such as retail, tourism, hospitality, accommodation and the arts were the first to be eligible for $10,000 Business Support Fund grants. With more than $150 million paid out in grants to businesses across the state, the fund will now move to the second phase of support.
The criteria will be expanded to include businesses with a wages bill less than the payroll tax threshold of $650,000 who are participating in the Commonwealth JobKeeper program, regardless of the sector they operate in.
Eligibility for the fund will not be expanded to include sole traders, who are covered by JobKeeper.
Job seekers can register their details on the vic.gov.au/workingforvictoria to access opportunities.
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