Gone are the golden days when just about anyone could walk into a job in Alice Springs. Although the unemployment rate is low here compared to the national rate, the job market has become more competitive. It’s not that there are fewer jobs, there is more competition from an interstate and overseas workforce and this is not necessarily a bad thing, says Kay Eade, Executive Officer at the Chamber of Commerce. RACHEL McFADDEN reports.
The Remote Jobs and Communities Program was announced by the Federal Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development, Julie Collins (pictured left) in Alice Springs. It makes no mention of the initiative by her Northern Territory counterpart, Alison Anderson (pictured right), aiming to subject regional development to "integration and coordination across business, industry, the community and all levels of government". Both initiatives were announced yesterday and have roughly the same objectives in the same region and are trying to help the same people: But it appears that when it comes to spending public money, one hand, once again, cares little about what the other is doing. ERWIN CHLANDA reports.
Prisoners have been sent to work "in real jobs, for real money" as part of the Sentenced to a Job Program, first reported in the Alice Springs News Online on December 18, 2012. Minister for Correctional Services John Elferink (pictured) says the trial program has been successful beyond expectations and will be expanded.
On a recent 40+ degree day, Max Bialek from Germany cycled out from town to the Alice Springs News home office in the rural area. He brought greetings from his father whom we'd met as a tourist and skydiver here before Max was even thought of. The hardy young backpacker is loving his time in The Centre. Right now he's helping bring in the crop at Rocky Hill. We asked him to convey his first impressions of Alice.
"Alice Springs – what are you going to do there?"
"Now, in the middle of summer? You're crazy mate!"
That is how my backpacker friends reacted when I decided to make my way – contrary to the mainstream – from Cairns over nearly 2500 kilometers to Alice Springs. With each new place you encounter certain expectations and demands. Considering Alice Springs, these were primarily influenced by prejudices that circulate among backpackers. It is hot there, dusty and above all boring. The truth was my part to find out about.
When I arrived it was a bit chilly and rainy. Of course, an unusual situation, clearing up the first prejudice! MAX BIALEK comments.
Jobs galore and not many takers: The town's biggest construction project right now is Lasseters' $35 million development. The new resort style pool is part of it, due to open at the end of this month. Claire Ryan Photography.
"A lot of people have two jobs to keep this town going.
"Many businesses have scaled down, passed up bidding for big jobs, closed their premises and are working from home. They can't get staff," says Kay Eade, Executive Officer of the Chamber of Commerce.
Yet there are 543 "job seekers receiving Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance" in The Alice, according to the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.
The department's "Central Australian Remote Servicing Team" lists 1649 job seekers and Yuendumu, 85.
That adds up to 2277 for the region. ERWIN CHLANDA reports from the jobs front where a lot of things just don't make sense.