An army of cleaners and community support workers will join the battle to slow the spread of coronavirus in a new initiative backed by the Victorian Government’s Working for Victoria fund.
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 2,750 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.
The Government has now struck agreements with an initial 28 councils across Victoria to support more than 2,300 people into jobs that include land and asset management, community outreach, hardship relief delivery and crisis co-ordination. Council workers who have been stood down may be redeployed into these new roles.
In Maribyrnong, Nate Taylor, who had worked as a hospitality manager, and Husam Baha, who worked for an electronics company before the coronavirus pandemic struck, are doing meaningful work as part of cleaning crews that are helping the community.
The cities of Melbourne, Maribyrnong, Yarra, Port Phillip and Stonnington have led the way in employing and training people to perform tasks including deep cleaning of public assets such as drinking fountains and disinfecting surfaces such as handrails, street furniture, playgrounds, tram stops, traffic signal boxes and mailboxes.
Rural communities will receive a boost with councils including Hindmarsh and Moorabool providing residents with Meals on Wheels deliveries, supporting vulnerable residents with in-home care needs and food packages, and helping local businesses.
For more information on Working for Victoria and to register, go to vic.gov.au/workingforvictoria.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade Martin Pakula
“This is about creating jobs for people in need and providing real benefits for local communities.”
“We’re speaking with more councils about opportunities to create jobs in communities across Victoria through this vital program.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Local Government Adem Somyurek
“Councils play a key role in supporting their communities, and never more so than in this time of unprecedented challenge.”
“Local councils know what work needs to be done and we’re joining with them to get more people back earning a wage.”
Quote attributable to Maribyrnong City Council cleaning crew team leader Nate Taylor
“It’s amazing to be able to be outside with the fresh air, sunlight and vitamin D, but also to be able to help the community. That’s the biggest thing for me – we are actually doing something that is helping.”