Centrelink Contributed

MYTHBUSTING: Gladstone's long-standing rumour

IT'S been a persistent rumour for some time, that Centrelink is paying unemployed people to move to Gladstone.

Though no one seems to know anyone who falls into that category, it's a story that won't go away.

If you believe social media, it's the root cause of most of Gladstone's problems.

Both the Federal Member for Flynn, Ken O'Dowd and State Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher have assured The Observer that no level of government is moving people to Gladstone.

"This is absolutely false, as I have said many times before," Mr O'Dowd said.

"I believe some people are coming to Gladstone for cheap rent. "There is a scheme where the Federal Government will assist with relocation expenses but only if there is permanent employment involved for a minimum of six months."

Mr Butcher also said the State Government was not moving people to Gladstone and ongoing rumours that people in public housing were being moved to the city from the Gold Coast, ahead of the Commonwealth Games, were "definitely not true".

The Federal Government's Relocation Assistance Scheme was established in 2014 to help long-term jobseekers with the cost of moving to take up a job offer that is more than 30 hours a week.

From January to October last year, 10 people moved to the Gladstone Region for full-time work under the program.

A spokesman from the Department of Jobs and Small Business said in order to qualify, a jobseeker must have already accepted a job offer.

The employer must also have declared they first tried to employ local jobseekers for the position.

"The assistance is arranged through employment services providers, it is not a Centrelink payment," he said.

"Jobseekers who are eligible for relocation assistance can receive assistance of up to $3000 if relocating to a capital city, $6000 if relocating to a regional area and an extra $3000 if relocating with dependent children.

"This is a demand-driven program... it's practical assistance to help Australians move into full-time paid work."

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