shari

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - SHARI TAGLI­ABUE

A ma­jor stum­bling block is that the ideal worker for many em­ploy­ers needs both ex­pe­ri­ence and youth, a valu­able, af­ford­able com­bi­na­tion that of­ten rules out both the ex­pe­ri­enced, and the youth­ful.

WNEWS THIS WEEK OF 80 ADANI EM­PLOY­EES MOV­ING TO TOWNSVILLE WAS HARDLY A VOTE OF CON­FI­DENCE IN OUR LO­CAL WORK­FORCE

HAT do we want? Jobs! When do we want them? Now! The old protest cry sums up our cur­rent sit­u­a­tion per­fectly, by all ac­counts there are peo­ple des­per­ate for work, but not enough jobs to go around.

Em­ploy­ment holds a cer­tain irony, there are many who don’t have to get up for work that wish they did, while oth­ers who have to get up of­ten wish they didn’t.

When you are em­ployed, it doesn’t take long to feel com­fort­able and se­cure enough to ac­tu­ally com­plain about it.

Who hasn’t moaned about hav­ing to go to work on a Mon­day, about time off, pay, hours or hol­i­days? Guilty as charged, Your Hon­our.

We can all dream of win­ning lotto but the real­ity, of course, is we prob­a­bly won’t.

Work gives most peo­ple pur­pose and a sense of self- worth.

Work­ing looks far bet­ter on a re­sume than ex­tended pe­ri­ods of unem­ploy­ment, but a ma­jor stum­bling block is that the ideal worker for many em­ploy­ers needs both ex­pe­ri­ence and youth, a valu­able, af­ford­able com­bi­na­tion that of­ten rules out both the ex­pe­ri­enced, and the youth­ful.

With jobs in short sup­ply em­ploy­ers can af­ford to be choosy, yet in the past few weeks we’ve heard of ap­pren­tice­ships that can’t be filled and fruit that won’t be picked by lo­cals, leav­ing trades go­ing beg­ging and ea­ger back­pack­ers en­joy­ing work­ing hol­i­days on our farms.

You’ll also find them man­ning food and mer­chan­dise stalls at many events, not to men­tion their grow­ing pres­ence in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try. This begs the ques­tion; where are the lo­cals and do they want to work?

Is it too dif­fi­cult to take on ca­sual work and com­ply with Cen­tre­link or New­start re­quire­ments?

Is it eas­ier to claim a ben­e­fit than ac­cept a low- paid ap­pren­tice­ship or the un­cer­tainty of sea­sonal or ca­sual work?

Unem­ploy­ment can be a frus­trat­ing, con­fi­dence- sap­ping spi­ral of emo­tional and fi­nan­cial in­se­cu­rity. Each knock- back is a blow to the ego and the econ­omy, but each job va­cancy is an op­por­tu­nity to get out of the dol­drums and get money flow­ing back into the house­hold, and the com­mu­nity.

Politi­cians have borne the brunt of the jobs short­age. They’ve promised big projects that will turn our econ­omy around. But how many of the an­tic­i­pated projects will em­ploy real lo­cals, not those mov­ing here tem­po­rar­ily?

News this week of 80 Adani em­ploy­ees mov­ing to Townsville was hardly a vote of con­fi­dence in our lo­cal work­force. We can only hope the sta­dium looks to lo­cal com­pa­nies first and the pro­posed bat­tery fac­tory, un­der­wa­ter mu­seum and Sin­ga­pore train­ing fa­cil­i­ties do the same when they get off the ground.

Draw­ing big projects to Townsville isn’t only about end re­sults, us­ing lo­cal work­ers dur­ing and af­ter con­struc­tion is an an­ti­dote to our jobs slump and shows con­fi­dence in the com­mu­nity.

While any­thing less will still mean new in­fra­struc­ture for the city, if the only cash flow from im­ported work­ers is through rents and multi­na­tional su­per­mar­kets, it won’t only have come at a high com­mu­nity cost, these one- off con­struc­tions will be shrines to our big­gest op­por­tu­ni­ties lost.

JOB MAG­NET: It is im­por­tant for our com­mu­nity that lo­cal work­ers are used dur­ing and af­ter con­struc­tion of big projects such as the sta­dium.

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