Hundreds of extra cleaners will hit local streets across regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne in a four-week blitz to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
The Victorian government is creating short-term positions for 1500 cleaners who will work across 10 regional and 26 suburban communities cleaning public infrastructure, retail centres and shopping strips as the staged lifting of restrictions begins.
Workers will disinfect and wipe down external surfaces such as street benches, handrails and door handles, traffic light buttons, poles, bicycle stands and bins.
The cleaning blitz, part of the government’s $500 million Working for Victoria initiative, will create employment for people who have lost work as a result of the coronavirus pandemic while delivering a valuable community service.
The government has been working with local councils to prioritise areas for cleaning and the first of the workers have taken up their posts. Advertising for the remaining jobs will continue until all positions are filled.
Almost 3000 Victorians have found positions through Working for Victoria since the program was launched last month, providing a quick return to work and access to training where required.
Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade Martin Pakula the blitz provides immediate work and wages to people who need it most, so they can pay the bills while they search for more permanent positions.”
“We’re taking the first cautious steps when it comes to easing restrictions, and the jobs that will be done as part of this program are an important part of that process.”
The cleaning will support the work already being undertaken by Council, and provide much needed short-term employment for members of our community.
The metropolitan councils involved in the four-week blitz are: Banyule, Bayside, Boroondara, Brimbank, Cardinia, Casey, Greater Dandenong, Darebin, Hobsons Bay, Frankston, Glen Eira, Hume, Kingston, Knox, Manningham, Maroondah, Melton, Monash, Moonee Valley, Moreland, Mornington Peninsula, Nillumbik, Whitehorse, Whittlesea, Wyndham and Yarra Ranges.
The regional councils are Ballarat, Greater Bendigo, Greater Geelong, Greater Shepparton, Horsham, Latrobe, Mildura, Wangaratta, Warrnambool and Wodonga.
ISS chief commercial officer and director of strategy, Stuart Rose, said the project has seen ISS recruit and induct more than 1000 new employees in a 48-hour period.
Brimbank City Council mayor, Cr Georgina Papafotiou, has welcomed the state government-funded initiative, which has created an additional 50 jobs in the local community.
“From today about 50 people will begin cleaning high pedestrian traffic community spaces around Brimbank several times each day as part of this cleaning blitz. This is an important step towards helping our community feel more comfortable in public spaces which will now be cleaned several times throughout the day, from 7am to 6pm and seven days a week.”
City of Monash mayor Stuart James said council welcomed the support from the government to aid the community’s road to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The cleansing blitz across Monash is operated by contractor Citywide’s Emergency and Maintenance Cleansing and Sanitisation Services.
“We know the community has a heightened expectation of cleanliness now on public facilities that we use each day, like traffic light buttons, street furniture, bike racks and the exterior of bins, ” James said.
“As we have discovered quickly, hygiene and cleanliness is critical to fighting COVID-19 and preventing its spread, and that applies to facilities and public assets as well as people practising personal hygiene.”
Greater Shepparton Council said its cleaning and disinfecting, which is being delivered by Cleanaway Shepparton, will include traffic light buttons and poles, signs and poles, street and park benches, handrails, front door handles and the exterior of public toilets.
“It will provide employment for members of our community who have unfortunately lost their jobs or been stood down due to the economic impacts of COVID-19, while also providing additional cleaning to continue to keep our community safe as the state government works towards re-open services and lift restrictions. Council is working closely with Cleanaway to ensure our efforts are coordinated and effective,” Mayor Seema Abdullah, said.
Earlier this week the state government pledged an additional $45 million for enhanced school cleaning for the remainder of Term 2 and Term 3 as students prepare to begin a phased return to classrooms. The investment aims to help to reduce the spread of viruses and germs in schools and will include the cleaning of frequently used high-touch surfaces.
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