The Jobs Queensland Board visited locations across Central West Queensland, including Barcaldine, Blackall and Longreach to learn firsthand about the skills and workforce opportunities and challenges facing the region and its key industries, including:
- Local government
- Agriculture (including sheep and shearing employers)
- Education and training
- Health and community services (including aged care)
- Social enterprises.
The ongoing drought was a key issue for the region and its core industry – the agriculture industry (sheep and cattle production). Other key issues were around the lack of available skilled and semi-skilled labour in the region, the reduction in the region’s population and changes to government services located in the region.
Across the stakeholder meetings held, the following key themes were identified:
- people are critical to ensuring the Central West has sustainable communities
- there are jobs available in the region
- the region is willing to embrace opportunities to diversify and innovate
- local access to education and training is important
- the agriculture sector is changing.
From its stakeholder engagement activities, the Board made the following key observations:
- The key issues facing the region are complex and responses will take time to yield results.
- It is important to continue to foster positive partnerships with local councils and empower local solutions.
- Collaboration and information sharing are essential to deliver innovative and effective outcomes.
- The region should explore the chances to increase local training opportunities to support local jobs.
- The region requires strategies that will help it to attract skilled and semi-skilled workers, to address skill and labour shortage issues.
- The region would benefit from the development of a strong and positive brand identity and narrative to differentiate and compete in national and international markets.
- The region should celebrate and promote its successes and strengths.
At the conclusion of this engagement the Jobs Queensland Board provided a briefing to the Minister for Employment and Small and Business and Minister for Training and Skills Development.