Labor’s decision to axe the Back to Work program in Southeast Queensland is throwing vulnerable young people back on the dole, the Liberal National Party warned today.
Shadow Employment Minister Fiona Simpson and Nicklin MP Marty Hunt spoke out while visiting a Sunshine Coast cafe where the jobs of two young people with disabilities are at risk because of the cancellation of the program.
“It is shameful that young people who have battled adversity to get a job could now lose that opportunity,” Ms Simpson said.
“Youth unemployment on the Sunshine Coast is at 14 per cent and rising and yet Labor is axing a program that helps young people get a job.
“We should be backing our young people – not sacking them.
“The plans of small businesses have been thrown into chaos and the hopes of jobseekers have been shattered.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk’s Budget has brought nothing but heartbreak to the Sunshine Coast.”
The LNP successfully fought to have the Back to Work program extended across Southeast Queensland last year, but with the State Election now over Labor decided to cancel the program for the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Brisbane and Toowoomba in the State Budget.
Nambour business Taco Boy recently took on two new workers aged 21 and 23 through disability employment services and had been planning to make the pair permanent employees through a Back to Work funding grant.
“I was devastated when I was told the program had been scrapped for the Sunshine Coast,” said business owner Virginia Homer.
“We are so proud of new recruits. They are amazing young people and they love working here.
“With Back to Work we could have given them a lasting job, but now I don’t know how we can.
“I just want the Government to think again and give us all a chance to build a better future.
“Nambour is struggling and it’s not fair that young people here are being denied the chance that other Queenslanders get.”
Back to Work offers grants of up to $20,000 to employers who hire eligible jobseekers, including young people and mature age workers.
LNP Member for Nicklin Marty Hunt, a regular Taco Boy customer, urged Sunshine Coast businesses to lobby the Palaszczuk Labor Government over the issue.
“A lot of businesses are struggling in Nambour and Annastacia Palaszczuk should be helping them – not hurting them,” Mr Hunt said.
“Why should young people on the Sunshine Coast be treated differently to those in Gympie?
“I just want the businesses and workers I represent to get a fair go.”