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Government Hiring During Downturn: ‘Thousands Of Jobs’ On Offer

Service NSW centre

As the retail and hospitality sectors stand down hundreds of thousands of employees, state governments are trying to hire more people and protect jobs with business support packages.

In partnership with the Victorian Council of Social Services and Victorian Trades Hall Council, the VIC government plans to establish a $500 million Working for Victoria Fund to help workers who have lost their jobs find new opportunities.

The state government has said they expect there to be “thousands of jobs” in cleaning public infrastructure, delivering food, health care and carer roles, food manufacturing, logistics, customer service and call centres, waste management and agriculture. You can register your interest in the fund here.

Today, the NSW government announced a recruitment drive to hire 1000 extra staff for Service NSW, adding to its workforce of 2800. Many of these new employees will work on the Service NSW contact centre hotline (13 77 88), which as of today will be open 24/7 to deal with the influx of enquiries related to COVID-19.

Last week the NSW government announced it would spend $250 million to employ additional cleaners of public infrastructure, such as transport assets, schools and other public buildings.

In order to stimulate more jobs, the authorities also said they would bring forward $250 million to be spent on maintenance works on public assets, and $500 million on capital works and maintenance.

As part of the state government’s $4 billion package to support health, jobs, households and businesses, some $500 million will be allocated to assisting workers who lose their job or income in finding jobs in industries that will be needed during the COVID-19 crisis – such as those in health care, agriculture, food production, transport, cleaning and mining.

“Queensland Health is actively seeking expressions of interest to develop a pool of applicants for temporary, contract and casual positions across all regions,” a Queensland Health spokesperson told ChannelNews. “Positions available will vary from region to region, but may include positions in the fields of medical, nursing, midwifery, Allied Health, administrative support, operational and dental, that will support the response to COVID-19.”

Robert Setter, the Commission Chief Executive of the Queensland Public Service Commission, told ChannelNews, “Jobs across government are regularly promoted on the Queensland Government LinkedIn page, like the 66 support workers advertised this week to work with people with a disability in Oxley, Nundah, Ipswich and Toowoomba.”

Earlier this month the WA state government announced a $607 million stimulus package to support households and small businesses in the wake of COVID-19.

The authorities have also commenced a recruitment drive to boost the health workforce in allied health, patient support and hospital administration roles. WA Health Minister Roger Cook said, “We encourage anyone who is not already working in the WA public health system, including retirees, to consider positions on offer as we work to minimise the impact of COVID-19 on the WA community.”

Today, the SA state government announced a $650 million Jobs Rescue Package, but the details still need to be figured out by an appointed council.

Earlier in March the state government launched an immediate economic stimulus package of $350 million, which would provide jobs across maintenance projects in road and hospital upgrades and new tourism infrastructure.

Yesterday, the SA government announced a drive to boost the number of midwives and nurses. “By fast tracking recruitment and upskilling of nurses and midwives, we are working to ensure we have a nursing and midwifery capacity to meet COVID-19 demand,” Minister Stephen Wade said.

The SA government also said it would support student nurses in carrying out assisting COVID-19 response functions.

The NT state government has invested $120 million to protect local jobs and businesses. This has included launching the Territory Jobs Hub platform to connect employers with employees affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

While many industries have been hit hard already, the government expects there to be many sectors in need of workers. For example, there is expected to be a shortfall of some 2500 workers in fruit and vegetable farming, given the reduction in overseas and seasonal workers.


The TAS state government has drawn up a $420 million social and economic support package, which provides financial assistance in the form of loans, grants and fee relief.

Yesterday, the ACT government announced a survival package for artists, offering funding of up to $10,000 per artist to support the sustainability of arts practices over the next 6-9 months (applications for this will be open from the 30th of March to the 17th of April). Last week the territory government announced the $137 million stage one economic survival package, which includes $20 million to be spent immediately on infrastructure projects.

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