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LeadWest's Board meets at Airport West and Essendon Fields Employment Precinct

Aug 13, 2014


LeadWest's Board meets today at Airport West and Essendon Fields Employment Precinct in Melbourne's north-west.

In the north-western part of Moonee Valley, Airport West and Essendon Fields are located in an advantageous position between Essendon Airport and Melbourne Airport.  

LeadWest's submission on Plan Melbourne included the suggestion that Melbourne Airport, Airport West and Essendon Fields be designated as a National Employment Cluster in the same way as Sunshine with the corridor through Albion and Ginifer to St Albans, and the Werribee township with the East Werribee Employment Precinct.

In March 2014, LeadWest called on the Victorian Government to assist with further development of Airport West and Essendon Fields to stimulate job creation in the wake of Qantas and other major employers slashing their workforces.  This call was heard and the area was designated as the Airport West and Essendon Fields Employment Precinct.  

The agenda for meetings of LeadWest's Board maintain focus on advancement of the Western Agenda, as well as covering governance matters.

For this meeting, the agenda includes presentation by Mr Chris Cowan, the CEO of Essendon Fields (one of LeadWest's Members).  It also includes discussion of the potential regional implications of the Australian Government's Work for the Dole programme.

There is no data in the public domain with which to enumerate precisely the number of people who will be subject to Work for the Dole requirements in Melbourne’s west. However, the Department of Employment does publish data estimating that at June 2014 there were 31,066 unemployed people aged 15+ in the Westgate area (covering the local government areas of Brimbank, Hobsons Bay, Maribyrnong Melton, Wyndham and Moorabool).

There is no segmentation of that unemployed population into the age-ranges required to do Work for the Dole activities, so LeadWest makes a reasonable assumption that the age profile of the unemployed approximates the age profile of the population generally.  Assuming that the age cohorts within that 31,066 matches the Census 2011 age profiles:

  • Approximately 4,900 people aged under 30 years in the Westgate area required to complete Work for the Dole for 25 hours per week for six months each year.
  • Approximately 9,700 people aged 30 to 49 years in the Westgate area required to complete Work for the Dole for 15 hours per week for six months each year.
On these estimates of the number of Work for the Dole participants in the Westgate area, the calculated Work for the Dole hours that will need to be allocated are:
 
  • 4,900 participants x 25 hours per week = 122,500 hours per week x 26 weeks = 3,185,000 hours each 6 months
  • 9,700 participants x 15 hours per week = 145,500 hours per week x 26 weeks = 3,783,00 hours each 6 months

At a broad estimate, and reliant on the stated assumptions, the region may be required to find nearly 7 million hours (6,968,000) of work-like activity under the Work for the Dole programme.

Given that there are 14,600 potential Workforce participants, if they were grouped into teams of 4 there will need to be 4,360 entities in the Westgate area serving as host organisations every 6 months.

If grouped into teams of 10, then there will need to be 1,460 entities in the Westgate area serving as host organisations every 6 months.

Given that the host organisation pool is small, with only not-for profit organisations/charities, or public sector organisations or agencies at the local, state, federal levels as host organisations, it is very likely that the JSAs and Work for the Dole Coordinators will find it very challenging to recruit the number of host organisations needed.

It should be noted that it is likely that the Work for the Dole programme requirements will somewhat reduce the numbers of unemployed over the first and subsequent six months, as job seekers find work or drop out of participation in the labour force (and thus out of eligibility for unemployment benefits).  

Nevertheless, the Work for the Dole programme will require a significant investment in time and money by host organisations like the local governments of Melbourne's west.

 

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