An army of public hygiene and land maintenance workers employed to help slow the spread of coronavirus has been bolstered in a major push backed by the Victorian Government’s Working for Victoria fund.
The government has struck new agreements with 15 councils across Victoria and will hire more than 1000 people under the initiative. More than half of the councils in the state are now on board with Working for Victoria.
An initial sweep of 28 councils across Victoria is supporting more than 2300 people into jobs that include cleaning, land and asset management, community outreach, hardship relief delivery and crisis co-ordination.
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 6700 Victorians have found positions through the program since April, providing a quick return to work and access to training where required.
The councils involved in the latest program are Glen Eira, Greater Shepparton, Hobsons Bay, Hume, Colac Otway, Golden Plains, Hepburn, Horsham, Knox, Loddon, Mildura, Moyne, Swan Hill, Towong and Wellington.
This tranche of jobs includes a proportion of outdoor maintenance and land management roles, particularly in regional areas.
Workers in the Bannockburn-headquartered Golden Plains shire will maintain waterways, outdoor trails and other key recreational assets, along with reducing fire hazards.
Greater Shepparton City Council will deploy workers to spruce up the environment, with a focus on planting trees and gardening.
In addition to outdoor maintenance, metropolitan councils are expanding their social outreach and community development activities.
The City of Knox is hiring mental health and wellbeing officers, while Glen Eira City Council is supporting vulnerable community members with check-in services, library deliveries and other home services.
“This is creating opportunities for people who have lost their job through no fault of their own and providing a crucial community service into the bargain,” Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade Martin Pakula, said.
“The work that is being done in these programs is one of the reasons that we have been so successful to date in slowing the spread of coronavirus.”
Last month the state government created more than short-term positions for 1500 cleaners to work across 10 regional and 26 suburban communities cleaning public infrastructure, retail centres and shopping strips as the staged lifting of restrictions begins.
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