Services Australia is working to establish an Agent service on Bribie Island that will provide self-service facilities for customers along with trained staff who can provide additional assistance.
Federal Member for Longman Terry Young, who fought hard behind the scenes to secure funding for the service, said he was delighted with the outcome.
“This will mean that residents in the area won’t have to travel to Caboolture to access government services such as Centrelink, Medicare and Child Support.
“Thanks to everyone who signed our online petition and helped make this happen. “This is a great result and another example of how the Federal Government is delivering for the people of Bribie Island.”
An Expression of Interest process will identify a host organisation and it is expected the Agent will be available in the first half of the year.
Until then Services Australia Community Engagement Officers will continue to support the community, visiting the Bribie Island Neighbourhood Centre in Bellara every Tuesday between 9.30 am and 11 am for appointments.
Services Australia General Manager Hank Jongen said while Agents were not agency staff, they received extensive training and ongoing support to assist locals with access to self-service facilities, certifying Proof of Identity documents and access to general information.
“Agents help people in regional, rural and remote communities to do their business with Services Australia and connect with the services they need, no matter where they live,” Mr Jongen said.
“Increasingly, customers are conducting their business with us online.
“The new Bribie Island Agent service will help people use our digital services with confidence.
“People will be able to visit the Agent and use self-service equipment such as internet-enabled computers and telephone to access government services, scan, print and upload documents and receive advice on how to access the government assistance they need.”
Bribie Island residents will continue to have access to the Caboolture Service Centre at 2022 George Street, Caboolture.
For more information about services available at Agents, visit Agents and Access Points - How we can help - Services Australia
As part of this trial, Queensland Fruit and Vegetable Growers Limited (GrowCom) will encourage and support school leavers in LONGMAN to participate in a ‘horticulture gap-year’, including production of a ‘Your Career in Agriculture’ video for school leavers. Under GrowCom’s project, school leavers will participate in pre-induction training for work in the rural sector and will be supported to gain employment in Queensland harvest areas.
Australians are encouraged to take up seasonal work opportunities in horticulture as part of a collaboration trial funded by the Morrison Government.
The Harvest Trail Services, which have been expanded into 16 regions, will ensure major horticulture areas have access to the workers they need.
Five organisations are being funded as part of the $1 million Harvest Trail Services Industry Collaboration Trial to find new ways to encourage people to take up opportunities in the horticulture sector, while meeting employer demand.
Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, said the trial will test-run different ways to promote harvest work to Australian job seekers.
“We know growers are struggling to find the labour they need, which is why Harvest Trail Services is as important as ever,” Minister Cash said.
“As part of Harvest Trail Services, we have provided additional funds to a number of growers groups for them to develop innovative approaches to promote new opportunities in the horticulture sector.”
The organisations selected are:
Fruit Growers Victoria Limited
Northern Territory Farmers Association Incorporated
Queensland Fruit and Vegetable Growers Limited (GrowCom)
Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers Cooperative Limited
Member for Longman Terry Young said these funding opportunities ranged from pre-employment projects, mentoring, training, development of videos, engagement with school leavers, and social media campaigns.
“The Morrison Government is committed to ensuring job seekers in Longman can find work and to help growers meet their workforce needs,” Mr Young said.
“We are also providing relocation assistance to people who relocate to harvest and regional areas to take up agricultural work.”
From 1 November 2020, relocation assistance is available to people who relocate to harvest and regional areas to take up short-term agricultural work, including Australians who are not receiving income support and those with the right to work in Australia.
Those relocating to take up short-term agricultural work may be eligible to receive up to $6,000 if they are an Australian worker; or $2,000 if they are visa holders with general work rights in Australia, not restricted to an employer or a type of work.
More details on the Harvest Trail can be found at https://jobsearch.gov.au/harvest
For more information about Relocation Assistance to Take Up a Job visit: https://jobsearch.gov.au/harvest/workers/relocation-assistance
Newly formed community group, Beachmere Residents for Safer Roads, held a community meeting on Monday, 25 January to address ongoing resident concerns of hooning and speeding.
State Member for Pumicestone, Ali King and Councillor for Division 2, Mark Booth, attended the meeting and heard the concerns of the residents who attended.
Those local concerns centred around speeding, hooning and the need for pedestrian crossings. Councillor Mark Booth advised that the Council was investigating traffic calming, and traffic management measures, in the village as well as trialling chicanes and pinch points in at least one location.
Ali King addressed the concerns relating to Beachmere Road with a description of the Community Consultation process due to commence in March or April. Disappointingly, and at a cost of $800,000 the community planning phase will be an on line process with little or no personal interaction for the residents of Beachmere.
Beachmere Road has been allocated $7m but, as Ali said, that will not fix Beachmere Road or even a quarter of it, but will allow a “pipeline process” where, as funds become available, they will be allocated to the next stage or required works.
Ali King then advised the meeting that the “old style” Police Beats were a “thing of the past” and were considered ineffective and not proven to contribute to community safety.
Instead, the Labor Government was going ahead with Mobile Police Beats and the Bribie Island / Beachmere area had been allocated one such unit in the upcoming rollout.
Mobile Police Beats are, Ali said, the “cutting edge” and allow a Police van to be stationed at an event, or criminal event, as a mobile response unit to allow the Police to be “seen”.
With funding only being allocated in the next Budget, it is anticipated that neither Bribie nor Beachmere will see such a Mobile Police Beat before the end of 2023.
From roads to crime to juvenile crime to disenfranchised youth, the Safer Roads Group, and the residents who did make the effort to attend, should be applauded. It is now up to the elected officials to translate their “political speak” of saying what everyone wants to hear, to making the changes that everyone wants to see, and that are required to keep residents safe and happy in their own streets.