‘Reckless’ govt policy costs $431k to fill just 76 jobs
A cornerstone-policy of the Palaszczuk Government to find unemployed Queenslanders work during the pandemic scored just 76 people a job but cost taxpayers $431,000.
Labelled a "reckless" waste of money by the Opposition, just 500 out of 15,000 people who signed up to the much-heralded JobsFinder Queenslander portal since its launch by former treasurer Jackie Trad in April were matched with a job.
But only 76 of those actually went on to work the 40 hours required by the government to consider the placement a success, an Employment Department spokesman said.
The result comes as 214,000 Queenslanders sit in the unemployment queue, with the state's jobless rate at 7.7 per cent in October - the second highest in the nation behind Tasmania.
The program had a $10 million budget when it was unveiled as the "first major element" of the government's worker's assistance package but has only spent $431,000 - the vast majority of that on advertising and IT costs - and will be terminated on December 31.
It saw taxpayers pay private-sector recruiters $350 to successfully match applicants to job ads, with payments made after the person completed 40 hours of work.
The $431,000 spent on the program to date means taxpayers actually shelled out $5,671 per job secured.
The Government has blamed JobKeeper for impacting its job-match plans because it "provided an alternative means for job support".
And it admits its doesn't know how many of its successful matches have actually stayed in those jobs.
But it says that it did see people sign up for 17,000 TAFE courses.
"The portal was one of our first economic responses to COVID-19, and was welcomed by industry and job seekers at the time it was launched," a spokesman for Employment Minister Di Farmer said.
"Subsequent programs like JobKeeper impacted the performance of the portal when it comes to job matches, but it also linked job seekers with free online training courses available through TAFE Queensland, CQU and other providers with over 17,000 enrolments so far.
"Most of the funding for Job Finder has now been reallocated to other COVID-19 economic priorities such as the Small Business COVID-19 Adaption Grants."
Opposition employment spokesman Brent Mickelberg said the program was "the latest example of Labor's reckless financial mismanagement".
"Rather than wasteful window dressing like Labor's failed Job Finder Portal, Queenslanders deserve to see real solutions to tackle skyrocketing unemployment, which is among the worst in Australia," he said.
Originally published as 'Reckless' govt policy costs $431k to fill just 76 jobs