The average unemployment rate in Coffs-Grafton rose to nearly 10 per cent during the pandemic.
The average unemployment rate in Coffs-Grafton rose to nearly 10 per cent during the pandemic.

New role to combat Coffs’ post-COVID joblessness

With Coffs' unemployment rates exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, a new Employment Facilitator has been appointed to help locals find jobs.

The facilitator will work on-the-ground in the Cowper electorate to connect people with employment and training opportunities.

The newly appointed role comes as the latest ABS Labour Force Survey figures shows the average unemployment rate in Coffs-Grafton region was at 9.8 per cent during the months of April to October.

Before the pandemic hit, the average unemployment rate was 5.5 per cent.

The ABS had earlier reported that in the seven weeks from mid-March, a devastating 11.2 per cent of jobs were lost in the region - one of the largest losses in the country.

Janine Culnane from Regional Development Australia - Mid North Coast will take on the role.

Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce president Ray Smith welcomed the news.

"We look forward to working with the new Employment Facilitator," Mr Smith said.

"I look forward to seeing more local jobs for local people and helping to grow the local economy."

The facilitator will also chair a Local Jobs and Skills Taskforce, and work with local stakeholders to drive the development of a Local Jobs Plan.

Federal MP for Cowper Pat Conaghan said he was confident the Taskforce would come up with local solutions.

"They'll drive innovative ideas to address the unique challenges in Cowper by bringing together local businesses, training providers and job seekers," he said.

The role of the facilitator has been funded under the $62.8m Local Jobs Program.

Ms Culnane will take on the role from January 18.



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