A new independent report, commissioned by Rural Councils Victoria, has found that the $500m Working for Victoria program has benefitted individuals, councils and communities across the state.
Hundreds of people who would otherwise never have considered a job in local government, were employed in councils across rural Victoria under the Working for Victoria program, which was rolled out in record time by the state government in response to the global pandemic.
Rural Councils Victoria Chair Cr Mary-Ann Brown said:
“The Working for Victoria program allowed councils to hire young people, those who had never previously considered working for a council, people from other regions and people from Melbourne.
“The majority had never applied for a job in local government before and some had never even considered working with a council.”
“This saw an influx of new blood, new ideas and new energy into councils across rural Victoria.”
“Unlike many State-Local Government funding arrangements which are tied to schemes that are not appropriate for rural communities, the Working for Victoria scheme allowed councils to appoint people into roles using their specialised skills and knowledge that were beneficial to local communities and were responsive to local needs.”
“Working for Victoria was a great success and we would like to see it replicated in future years.”
“Many of Victoria’s small rural councils are struggling to make ends meet and can’t afford to hire new workers. Prior to the COVID emergency, many smaller member councils also experienced ongoing difficulty in attracting adequately qualified and experienced staff in key areas such as planning, environmental health and building surveying.”
“The Working for Victoria program has provided a great model to build on: councils get done the work that needs to be done, employees get to try local government and communities get what they need.”
The independent report, authored by Nous Group, found that:
A majority (57%) said COVID had played a role in them applying for a Working for Victoria job, including being made redundant, too few hours or being stood down because of the pandemic.
More than half (52%) had never applied for a role in council before the Working for Victoria program.