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Briefcase: Beautiful one day, unemployed the next

By Stephen Lacey

A successful Queensland employment service will close its doors in March due to state government cuts. Charmaine Kane, from ABC News, reported the Nerang Neighbourhood Centre had already lost a counselling program and an emergency food program that fed nearly 10,000 people in 2012.

Now the centre's employment service is also to be cut. Co-ordinator Vicky Va'a said the employment program linked to about 1000 people in the past 18 months and placed 85 per cent of them in jobs.

It's a gas

Expatriate oil and gas workers in Australia are the highest paid in the world, pulling in an average pay packet of $171,000 a year in 2012, according to a report by Ron Bousso for Reuters. The agency said our local oil and gas workers were also at the top of the heap, earning an average $163,600.

The recent survey of 25,000 staff by Hays Oil & Gas and Oil and Gas Job Search showed wages in the oil and gas industry rose globally by 8.5 per cent in 2012 and by 6.5 per cent in 2011. Australia topped the list ahead of Norway.

"There would be few industries with such a track record of growth over the last few years in what has been, in the most part, an uncertain economic environment," the report said.

Don't bank on it

Planned cuts at Westpac meant 80 jobs were at risk, ABC News reported this week. The cuts, expected later in February, would be made at the bank's mortgage processing facility in Adelaide.

Westpac's Paul Marriage said the bank was working closely with staff on the planned cuts.

"Where teams are affected, we will do our very best to make sure we redeploy where possible," he said.

A Finance Sector Union official, Deb Black, was not convinced that workers would actually be redeployed. "When they've done these sort of cuts, their practice is not really to redeploy," she said.

Lack of confidence

Job seekers have been given sobering news, with the release of the National Australia Bank's job confidence index, which shows a significant fall in January. The employment index posted a four-point drop to minus seven.

Recruitment agency Randstad says unemployment could rise in February as a result.

The rate was steady at 5.4 per cent to January, but the next Australian Bureau of Statistics report could detail bleaker news as a lack of business opportunities takes its toll.



Published: 16 February 2013

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