NINETY-THREE people were employed as part of the Working for Victoria (WFV) scheme by Bass Coast Shire Council, new statistics have revealed.

Bass Coast Shire chief executive Ali Wastie told the Sentinel-Times the shire was one of the first councils in Victoria to commit to the program.

“We recognised the economic and employment stimulus that was needed with the onset of the pandemic,” she said.

“We were a leader in this space.

“Some of the positions were new as a direct result of COVID-19 and some filled vacancies that otherwise may not have been filled, due to the uncertainty created by COVID.”

The program was a state government-funded initiative that needed local employers to make it work.
Seventy-seven per cent of those employed through the program live in the Bass Coast and South Gippsland regions.

“We understand that out of the Gippsland councils, Bass Coast filled the highest number of WFV positions,” Ms Wastie said.

“The program has not only greatly benefited the Bass Coast community but also all the individuals that we’ve been able to employ.”

Ms Wastie said people were employed at the shire for jobs including additional cleaning and maintenance staff and revegetation officers.

“A snapshot of what we’ve achieved through the program so far – beginning of a masterplan for the Dinosaur Trail; guidance and support to local business and tourism associations with response and recovery planning; support for our local community sporting clubs to navigate grants, recovery and reinvigoration of sport; support for our community houses and help with recruitment of volunteers to strengthen their services and responsible pet ownership education,” she said.

“The Working for Victoria Program has given people the opportunity to gain meaningful employment that not only utilises their skills but contributes to their local community.”

To date, 17 of the 35 WFV staff who have completed their contract, have remained employed with council in various roles that are either casual, temporary or permanent.

Those WFV people who continue to be employed are filling positions that meet the shire’s normal operational needs and would be filled regardless.