Free driving lessons for jobseekers

Hundreds of unemployed Murray Bridge residents may benefit from extra funding for Jobactive providers.

Hundreds of unemployed Murray Bridge residents will now be able to ask their Jobactive providers to cover the cost of driving lessons. Photo: Getty Images.

Jobseekers who don’t have a driver’s licence can now ask their Jobactive providers to cover the cost of lessons.

Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business Minister Stuart Robert announced last Wednesday that the federal government had made funding available for the purpose.

The change is likely to help more than 500 jobseekers in Murray Bridge and surrounding areas.

Driving lessons would otherwise have cost them around $60 per hour.

There were more than 1400 people on unemployment benefits in Murray Bridge last month, according to Department of Social Services data; Mr Robert said about a third of people in the Jobactive system did not have a licence.

“A critical part of succeeding at an interview or at a new job is being able to travel to and from work easily, which is why I have directed this change to ensure jobseekers are able to more easily travel safely to training, interviews or to start a new job or apprenticeship,” he said.

“Helping jobseekers get a driver’s licence will increase their independence and mobility as well as boosting their prospects for getting into work.”

A Department of Education, Skills and Employment spokeswoman told Murray Bridge News that Jobactive providers – such as Madec, Sureway and Job Prospects in Murray Bridge – would have discretion about whether to pay for driving lessons for their clients, based on jobseekers’ and employers’ needs and the local jobs market.

Jobseekers’ inability to drive to workplaces has long been one of the biggest problems for both unemployed people and employers in the Murraylands.

The Murray Bridge council put up $10,000 to help a group of struggling young locals get their P plates five years ago.

The locally based L2P program promised the same benefits on a bigger scale when it launched in 2019; its first graduates earned their P plates in January.

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