New jobs committees to help meet local workforce and skills needs

Minister for Employment and Small Business, Minister for Training and Skills Development and Minister for Youth Justice The Honourable Di Farmer

Three new Regional Jobs Committees – Sunshine Coast, Central Queensland and Mount Isa – will bring together business, government, and the community to meet local workforce and skills needs.

  • The committees will increase the current robust network of nine Regional Jobs Committees to a total of 12 across the state – supported by $3.4 million in Queensland Government funding since 2019.
  • The Regional Jobs Committee program is identifying challenges and opportunities for skills development, workforce participation and business growth in the regions, while delivering the Good people. Good jobs: Queensland Workforce Strategy 2022–2032 (QWS).
  • The Sunshine Coast, Central Queensland and Mount Isa, from January 2024, will be part of a revised Regional Jobs Committee (RJC) program that will also extend the current nine RJCs to 12 until June 2025. The RJC program was launched in 2019 – growing from an initial six locations to the nine locations currently operating in:

    • Cairns (delivered by Cairns Chamber of Commerce)
    • Townsville (delivered by Regional Development Australia Townsville and North West Queensland)
    • Mackay (delivered by Greater Whitsunday Alliance)
    • Fraser Coast (delivered by Regional Development Australia Wide Bay Burnett)
    • Bundaberg (delivered by Regional Development Australia Wide Bay Burnett)
    • Redlands (delivered by Redlands Coast Chamber of Commerce)
    • Gold Coast (delivered by Regional Development Australia Gold Coast)
    • Springfield (delivered by Regional Development Australia Ipswich and West Moreton), and;
    • Toowoomba (delivered by Regional Development Australia Darling Downs South West)

    Since the program’s inception, RJCs have been hard at work either delivering or working on programs to inspire jobs growth and support their local businesses. Examples are:

    • The Mackay RJC, knowing the workforce needs now, and in the future, is focusing on adaptable skills for emerging industries, such as pumped hydro, aerospace, new mining, and critical minerals. The RJC has developed materials and tools, and holds events to engage and inform parents, students, communities and industry on the opportunities now and coming for the region.
    • 2023 Cairns Maritime Careers Day: The Port of Cairns services about 15 per cent of Australia’s registered vessels and the Cairns Marine Precinct is being expanded. Noting the immediate job opportunities that are present but also in the future, events like this are great for people looking to enter this marine industry.
    • The Springfield RJC has been consulting with the University of Southern Queensland on a partnership application to provide cyber security and digital capability training for businesses. It is undertaking research and community consultation to ensure the result is fit for purpose for the businesses in the region.

    Quotes attributable to Minister for Employment and Small Business, Minister for Training and Skills Development Di Farmer:

    Providing Queenslanders with opportunities to get a job, grow their skills and have a great lifestyle is a priority of the Palaszczuk Government.

    “Regional Jobs Committees have an important role in that. Guiding them are passionate, local people who understand what it takes to fill job vacancies, connect businesses to available resources, and create pathways to upskill people in their regions.

    “The three new locations are an acknowledgement of the program’s success. They have been chosen to join the RJC network based on population, employment and economic growth data.

    “According to the 2021 Census, around one in five people (19%) living in Mount Isa are either not in the labour force, or unemployed and looking for work.

    “That figure is even higher on the Sunshine Coast – with almost a third (32%) of the population not in the workforce.

    “And in Central Queensland, while the unemployment rate fell by 0.8% in the year to June 2023, it remains higher than the State average (3.7%).

    “All these regions have exciting job opportunities – from the rapid growth of the critical minerals sector, to an uptick in tourism and construction driven by our 2032 Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games programs.

    “Working hand in hand with Regional Jobs Committees we are creating new jobs to future proof regional industries and bringing communities closer together to overcome workforce challenges.”

    Explainer/fast fact and or further information:

    • Regional Jobs Committees bring together local stakeholders including employers, industry groups, training providers, unions, schools and councils to develop and implement collaborative place-based solutions to workforce challenges and opportunities within their regions.
    • From January 2024, under new Service Agreement provisions, funded RJCs will receive up to $200,000 per year in Queensland Government funding.
    • A revised RJC operating framework is currently in-development and will be finalised this year.
    • Further consultation with local councils, economic development organisations and regional stakeholders will continue to occur in relation to the three new Regional Jobs Committee locations.

    /Public Release. View in full here.