The Palaszczuk Government’s revitalised $140 million Back to Work employment program that will support thousands of Queenslanders to get – and keep – jobs is now open for applications.

Minister for Employment and Small Business Di Farmer said the refreshed program, unveiled in this year’s State Budget, will provide greater access to on-the-ground support for employers and disadvantaged jobseekers. 

“The Palaszczuk Government put investing in skills and backing small business at the heart of our COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan because we believe wherever you are in Queensland, you deserve the chance to get a good job,” Minister Farmer said.

“We fund these job creating initiatives not only because they provide vital career opportunities to Queenslanders, but because they help small businesses too: over 80% of employers benefiting from Back to Work are small businesses.

“Across the state small businesses are telling me that trying to get people to fill the jobs they have is a major challenge.

“Since 2016, the Back to Work program has seen more than 25,000 people get into work because of the assistance provided to more than 11,800 employers.

“One of those employers is Longreach tourism business, Outback Aussie Tours, which has hired four staff members through the Back to Work program since 2017.

“Emilee Pennisi is the most recent employee, who started with the business in 2020.”

Business owner Alan “Smithy” Smith said Back to Work enabled them to give Emilee different working experiences including in administration and at Smithy’s Outback Dinner and Show.

“Emilee has found her niche in our kitchen and makes the best sticky date pudding in Central Queensland,” Mr Smith said.

Emilee said Back to Work has been really good for her.

“I started working in the office but during summer I was asked to help out with the cooking as we were busy, and I absolutely loved it,” Emilee said.

”Back to Work has enabled me to switch to cookery and I couldn’t be happier. This is what I want to do for my career and Back to Work made it possible.”

Minister Farmer said as Queensland enters the latest phase of economic recovery, the Back to Work program will include additional support for employers and jobseekers to support long-term and sustainable employment.                           

“The focus will be on those jobseekers who experience significant disadvantage in the labour market, who often require more intensive support to find a job,” Minister Farmer said.

“There’ll be payments of $15,000 to eligible businesses to who employ an eligible job seeker including the long term unemployed, an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person or someone with disability, and there’ll be a $20,000 youth boost payment for eligible businesses to employ an eligible Queenslander under 25.

“We are unashamedly focussed on getting our young people in the regions into jobs.

“These payments will create genuine, long-term employment outcomes.”

In addition to the financial employer incentives, a new range of intensive support for both jobseekers, employers and their employees will be available. 

“We’ve made a number of changes in response to specific feedback we received after speaking with thousands of businesses at the Small Business Roadshow earlier this year,” Minister Farmer said.

“We’ve also added more elements to the program – including mentoring sessions, training guidance, and support to secure possible employment requirements like a driving licence or a blue card – to ensure both job seekers and businesses have what they need to succeed.

“This wraparound support will not only help businesses recruit workers, but, vitally, to retain them too.”

“Through the revitalised Back to Work program we’re doing things differently and trying new approaches to support these key cohorts to ensure they take advantage of the opportunities presented to them,” Minister Farmer said.

The support includes flexible approaches to provide employers and jobseekers with the assistance and skills to successfully navigate job outcomes. The new approach includes utilising short courses, screening tools and workplace adjustments through the program’s network of support officers.     

The revitalised Back to Work program is now open. To learn more about the program visit