My adjournment matter is directed to the Minister for Racing, Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade and Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, the Honourable Martin Pakula. Hundreds of extra cleaners have hit local streets across regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne in a four-week blitz to help slow the spread of coronavirus and support jobs. The Victorian government has created short-term positions for 1500 cleaners, who are working across 10 regional and 26 suburban communities cleaning public infrastructure, retail centres and shopping strips to help build community confidence as the state’s lifting of restrictions begins.
More than 6500 Victorians have found positions through Working for Victoria since the program was launched in April providing a quick return to work and access to the training required. The government has now struck agreements with 43 councils across Victoria to support more than 3300 people into jobs that include land and asset management, community outreach, hardship relief delivery and crisis coordination. Council workers who have been stood down may be redeployed into these new roles. The cities of Melbourne, Maribyrnong, Yarra, Port Phillip and Stonnington have led the way in employing and training people to perform tasks including deep cleaning of public assets, such as drinking fountains, and disinfecting surfaces, such as handrails, street furniture, playgrounds, tram stops, traffic signal boxes and mailboxes. I have seen groups of young workers doing a fantastic job around streets in my electorate of Western Metropolitan Region. The action I seek from the minister is to provide my office with an update on the benefits of the cleaning blitz and how it has supported local communities in the Western Metropolitan Region to feel safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
Ms PULFORD (Western Victoria—Minister for Employment, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, Minister for Small Business):
I am informed as follows:
Thank you to the Member for the Western Metropolitan Region for raising this matter. As the new Minister for Employment, I am pleased to advise that a total of 727 cleaners, plus supervisors, have undertaken a range of high visibility ‘touchpoint’ cleaning in the Western Metropolitan Region, as part of the Victorian Government’s Working for Victoria cleaning blitz. More than three quarters of the cleaners reside in the local government area where they cleaned, providing much needed job opportunities to local people.
The cleaning included items touched regularly by the general public, such as door handles to retail shops and cafes, traffic light buttons, railings, bench seats, bike stands, signage poles and bin lids. Cleaners used a diluted hospital grade disinfectant to clean each item. The initial focus was on high streets and strip shop areas, followed by the cleaning of playground equipment in parks and bus shelter seats. ‘Deep cleans’ were also undertaken of local libraries as restrictions started to ease.
Cleaning staff have received positive feedback from the general public and local council employees in the Western Metropolitan Region. A number of cleaning staff across the region have been offered free coffees and lunches from local shop owners in recognition of their contribution to community safety.