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QLDC receives $1.4m in labour redeployment funding

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Queenstown Lakes has received $1.4 million of a $36.72 million government funding package that has been allocated to regions hard hit by COVID-19. The funding is part of a redeployment package which will be used to support those who have lost work, as well as helping support the wider community.

Mayor Jim Boult said Queenstown Lakes was one of the hardest hit areas and welcomed the additional support.

"It’s great Queenstown Lakes has been acknowledged as a district in need of additional support. The funding will be used to support many of our people directly affected by COVID-19 to move forward," Mayor Boult said.

The funding will be used by the Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) recovery team in its efforts to support both community and economic recovery, with a focus on redeployment and retraining opportunities.

"Recovery work includes liaising with agencies to ensure people are aware of what support is available; working with the community to accelerate great recovery ideas; scoping out which infrastructure projects can be fast tracked; and developing a diversification plan," QLDC Economic Development Manager Peter Harris said.

"The primary focus of the funding is on redeploying or retraining for people who have lost their jobs or had hours reduced as a result of COVID-19, and seeing where other work can be found for them. The money will be used to establish ways in which this can happen quickly and effectively as redeployment opportunities arise over the coming months.

"For example, QLDC is working with the Department of Conservation (DOC) and the Otago Regional Council (ORC) to help secure new conservation-related jobs. We are also working alongside the agricultural industry which is seeking dairy farm workers and drivers. However, the process to set up these initiatives will take time and information will be provided publicly as details are confirmed."

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) also recognised that a lot of the work in establishing these programs required analysis, collection of data, information and coordination; because of this, a portion of the funding will go to helping the QLDC recovery team undertake these actions.

In addition to looking at redeployment and retraining the recovery team is also developing a retention programme, and supporting businesses and community leaders as they manage their way through a retrenchment and rebuild phase.

"As well as helping those that have lost work move forward, we need to support those who will lead us out of this crisis" Mr Harris said.

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