The Queensland government has spent $1.9m on the Tradies in Paradise campaign, only two have been paid

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Only two trades have received a cash incentive following a $1.9 million campaign launched by the state government to attract more workers to Queensland.

The Tradies in Paradise initiative was launched in April and offered 1,000 interstate traders up to $1,750 in cash bonuses to relocate to Queensland and work on flood repairs for eight weeks.

Figures provided for the budget estimates revealed that 870 people had expressed interest in the program which runs until November 30.

Of those expressions of interest, 12 people had applied for the program and two had been fully paid for a total of $3,500 as of July 21.

In total, the government had spent $1,965,569 on the campaign, which included advertising, administration costs and incentive payments.

Minister Di Farmer said the ad campaign was still “an opportunity to market Quueensland”.(ABC Gold Coast, Tara Cassidy)

At a budget hearing, Jobs and Small Business Minister Di Farmer admitted that uptake could be better.

“Would I like to see more trades applying for this program? Yes, I would,” she said.

“The advertising campaign was broadcast in other states, except for New South Wales.

“We are very happy that apart from anything else it has given us the opportunity to market Queensland and it is never a wasted opportunity.”

Ms Farmer said the scheme was launched after consultation with stakeholders to address labor shortages following widespread flooding in southeast Queensland.

Opposition Jobs and Small Business Critic Brent Mickelberg said most of the spending went to publicizing the ‘failed scheme’, which he said had not been effective for flood-affected Queenslanders.

“Two million dollars for two transactions,” he said.

“It’s good that they spent the money to advertise the program but the concept was badly conceived from the start and you can see in the result that it was badly conceived.

“It just doesn’t pass the mark.”

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