Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Jobs Queensland Is a 'Laughing Stock': Bleijie

Newspaper article The Queensland Times (Ipswich, Australia)

Jobs Queensland Is a 'Laughing Stock': Bleijie

Article excerpt

Byline: Helen Spelitis Helen.Spelitis@qt.com.au

THE State Government's $40million election promise to create jobs for Queenslanders now and in the future is struggling to get off the ground.

Jobs Queensland, based out of the Ipswich Icon Tower, promised to be an independent organisation consulting with key stakeholders and private industry leaders on priorities for emerging skills and future jobs.

But since its formation, the organisation has consulted more with other government advisory bodies than commercial organisations, based on the government's own admissions.

In the 18 months since the election the organisation has created nine internal jobs, held six meetings and appointed a Chairperson.

An Interim Reference Group is still babysitting Jobs Queensland, although applications for board positions closed on July 18 and are currently being considered.

The progress is a far cry from the government's statement in January that by March ten Jobs Queensland staff and a board would be set up in Ipswich, with more positions on the way -- heralded as an example of the government's commitment to decentralise the public service.

Since the Jobs Queensland legislation passed the parliament in November, $850,000, of the $40 million allocated over four years has been spent purely on setting up the organisation.

During parliament estimates hearings this week, Training and Skills Minister Yvette D'Ath said that money was used for staffing and operational costs including accommodation.

The minister also came under fire from the LNP opposition in that hearing for 'handpicking' Jobs Queensland chair Rachel Hunter outside the 'merit-based' process promised for all appointments under this government. There is no argument, however, from the opposition that Ms Hunter, a former director under the Bligh Government, is not qualified for the job.

Jobs Queensland was one of the government's major commitments under the 'Jobs, jobs, jobs' stance it took to the election. …

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