Tough work for dole
WHEN Anthony Ryan and Sarah Heddes signed up for Centrelink, they didn’t think they would be working harder than in a paid job.
But the two young Gayndah residents are not complaining.
They even said they hoped their work with Burnett Catchment Care Association, through the Federal Government’s work-for-the-dole program, would eventually turn into a paid position.
From July 1, people aged18 to 35 who are receiving Newstart or Youth Allowance payments are required to join the North Burnett’s pilot of work-for-the-dole program, which will roll out across the country next year.
Mr Ryan and Ms Heddes were offered positions with Burnett Catchment Care Association and have been planting trees along the Burnett River in Mundubbera to strengthen its banks.
“I’ve worked on the orchards around here for the last eight years, but all the backpackers beat me to the jobs this time,” Mr Ryan said.
But Mr Ryan is now interested in pursuing other qualifications, like chainsaw operating certificates on offer through BCCA.
Ms Heddes was unsuccessful in her job search in the Gayndah shops, so was also required to join the BCCA Riparian Recovery Program.
“It is really hard work, being outside planting trees all day,” the 18-year-old said.
“Eventually I would like to work with kids, but I wouldn’t mind this turning into a paid position either.”
Field co-ordinator Dutch Anbeek said a bit of work needed to be done on the riverbanks, so he was happy to receive new people through the program.
“A few people still feel incredibly hard done by and let me know all the time, but others are excellent,” he said.
Office co-ordinator Fiona Morris said despite the program being compulsory, people who didn’t work well would be sent back to the employment provider to find work elsewhere.
“It’s about attitude,” she said.
“If people are negative, they bring down the whole team and they won’t be welcome back.”
On the other hand, Ms Morris said anyone who showed initiative was likely to get work and the association had employed two work-for-the-dole people full-time for the Riparian Recovery Program in the past week.