A Centrelink incentive was offered to job seekers to relocate for work.
A Centrelink incentive was offered to job seekers to relocate for work. Kyle Zenchyson

Jobless pass on thousands of dollars to move to Rocky

DESPITE a financial incentive in the thousands, less than 20 people have taken the chance to move to Rockhampton and Yeppoon for work.

But with locals facing job cuts and a constant struggle to secure work, it may take more than $6000 in Australian Government funding to lure people to the region.

This is the sum the Department of Employment Relocation Assistance Job programme offered people on Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance or a Parenting Payment to move to a regional area.

Despite the low number of low-to-no-income people finding employment in Rockhampton or the Capricorn Coast, it appears Queensland job seekers favoured rural locations to metro centres across the state.

A Department spokesperson said 134 of the total 172 job seekers from February 2016-17 relocated to regional areas.

However, the financial incentive is double the amount of a metro move at $3000, with an extra $3000 on offer for those with dependants.

Regional to metro and metro to regional relocations across the state were on par at 21 each way.

The Department could not advise where people had moved from to our region given the low number of relocations.

It appears Queensland is a favourite for New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory job seekers though, with 25 moving to the Sunshine State

"The state with the next highest number of external moves using RATTUAJ to QLD was VIC, with fewer than 20 - less than 20 to regional QLD, and fewer than 20 to metro,” the spokesperson said.

The funds are to cover a range of relocation costs such as two month's rent, a removalist, travel costs, new school uniforms and some employment-related expenses.

To be eligible for the assistance applicants must "take up any suitable work or an apprenticeship”, which must be ongoing.

If you receive the payment but leave your job without a valid reason within the first six months, get fired for misconduct or don't start work or relocate, the Department of Employment could impose penalties, including a loss of income support payments for up to 12 week.

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