What to do if you lose your job: How to claim Centrelink payments and which industries ARE hiring

Help is at hand for thousands of Australian workers who are losing their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic, with new employment opening in different industries.

Recruitment agency Adecco Group chief executive Rafael Moyano told Daily Mail Australia that huge jobs growth was occurring in four main industries. 

Grocery, food retailers and fast-moving consumer goods were the number one industry experiencing a significant spike.

Farmers are desperate for laborers to help with fruit picking as foreign workers can no longer fly in and work. This creates jobs for Australian workers who lost their jobs due to coronavirus

Transport and logistics, distribution and health care were also growing.

‘All of these areas have experienced an increase in recruitment demand,’ he said on Friday.

More than 20,000 Qantas and Jetstar staff including baggage handlers, catering staff, flight attendants and pilots have been stood down until May as the airlines cut international flights due to the pandemic. 

Supermarket giant Woolworths has reached out to the Qantas and Jetstar staff who lost their jobs by creating a streamlined expressions of interest process to hire them.

‘It shows the wonderful Australian spirit really from one industry to another,’ she told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday.

Woolworths was also increasing the hours of its own casual employees to help with the extra work caused by the panic buying. 

Warehousing and distribution centres have been advertising more jobs

Warehousing and distribution centres have been advertising more jobs

The jobs will be desperately needed.

More than 36,000 people applied for 5000 jobs at Coles in just the 48 hours to Wednesday. 

Agricultural work is also available as farmers face a labour shortage after a ban on foreign workers entering the country.

Farmers had begun relying on imported seasonal workers in recent years to harvest crops and pick fruit and vegetables. 

Thousands of new jobs in these industries 

1. Grocery, food retailers and fast moving consumer goods

2. Transport and logistics

3. Distribution centres and warehousing

4. Health care

5. Call centres

6. Customer service

7. Fruit picking and crop harvesting 

Source: Adecco, Canstar editor-at-large Effie Zahos, AAP

Agriculture, forestry and fisheries employees make up 2.5 per cent of the Australia’s workforce.

The border closing means those jobs are now available for Australian workers who have been laid off or temporarily stood down from their jobs due to COVID-19 crisis. 

The healthcare sector is another boom area, and was already experiencing growth before the coronavirus hit, but that is now booming. 

On Friday, jobs website Jora listed 52,500 health related jobs of which 25,000 had been listed just in the last two weeks.

Ms Zahos said there was increasing demand for nurses to work in call centres. 

Recruitment agency Randstad Australia had also recorded demand for more than 1000 general call centre workers, Ms Zahos said.

There was also high demand for teachers who can use an online teaching platforms to lead classes remotely.

Jobseeker website Seek had 129,677 jobs listed on Friday of which almost 60,000 were customer service jobs.  


Many workers are living paycheck to paycheck and do not have an emergency fund to tide them over. 

Firstly, stay calm, Ms Zahos said. 

Then sit down and go through your expenses, highlighting the most important ones.

Light, heating, food on the table and rent or mortgage repayments are crucial, Ms Zahos said – but don’t go to a payday lender as they charge extremely high interest rates.

Utility providers are able to make provisions for payment plans if you have lost your job, so ring them and talk to them.

Woolworths has reached out to 20,000 Qantas and Jetstar workers who have been stood down, giving them priority for jobs

Woolworths has reached out to 20,000 Qantas and Jetstar workers who have been stood down, giving them priority for jobs

‘You don’t want the power turned off,’ Ms Zahos said.  

If you get a large unexpected bill for something essential, for example if the refrigerator breaks, there are no-interest and low-interest loans of up to $3000 available from Good Shepherd Microfinance.

Mortgage payments do not have to fall into arrears: banks have the power to help borrowers who in hardship – call your lender if you will have trouble  paying. 

Ms Zahos said many people had set their mortgage repayments to more than the minimum in order to pay down the principle.

Reducing your repayment to the minimum required can relieve the burden further.

Registering with Centrelink for a JobSeeker Payment, formerly known as Newstart, may be advisable as you can then access other help such as rental assistance (for renters) or an advance for emergency bills. 

Gift store business owner Johann Kim posted tips on Facebook for fellow small business owners who are also struggling.

‘It will only take a few more weeks of this to topple businesses like mine that maybe haven’t given themselves enough of a buffer and it’s overwhelming and terrifying wondering what might lie ahead,’ he wrote.

Pigeonhole's Johann Kim posted a list of handy tips to help fellow struggling small business owners get through the coronavirus crisis

Pigeonhole’s Johann Kim posted a list of handy tips to help fellow struggling small business owners get through the coronavirus crisis

Mr Kim suggested calling the tax office if your business is on a payment plan or if you have a debt as they can defer it until June and this will stop interest accruing on the debt.

Small businesses can also try to renegotiate rents with landlords who are generally sympathetic to tenants in coronavirus distress. It is often better for them to cut the rent and keep a good tenant than to let the property go vacant. Asking is free.

He also suggested applying for hardship on all non-essential bills to stop payments going out: credit cards, car repayments, phone bills – everything.


Centrelink provisions have been streamlined and you can apply for the JobSeeker Payment by calling 132 850. 

Those who lose their jobs can also apply for the JobSeeker Payment online here.

The payment is $565.70 a fortnight for singles without children, which works out to be $282.85 a week. That reduces to $510.80 each if you have a partner.

A single person with a dependent child can get up to $612 a fortnight,  

The Services Australia website states you need supporting documents and separation certificates from every employer you have worked for in the past 12 months.

Daily Mail Australia has asked Services Australia how this affects the nation’s three million casual workers who may simply find they are not on the roster for shifts, and may never get a separation certificate, and will update this story with the answer.

Those people already on the JobSeeker Payment who are affected by coronavirus may be exempt from mutual obligation requirements and won’t need medical evidence if they were claiming through the Sickness Allowance, Service Australia says on its website.

The Prime Minister announced a one-off $750 payment for all pensioners under its first stimulus package and it is understood the payment is being rolled out now.

The payment only applied to the 6.5 million Australians on government pensions including Newstart (now called JobSeeker Payment), the carer payment, age pension or veteran service pension. 

Daily Mail Australia has asked Centrelink what the cut-off date is, or was,  to qualify for this one-off payment. 

Where to go for help 

* Tax relief: if you have a debt to the tax office you can’t pay call the Australian Tax Office emergency support infoline on 1800 806 218

* Unexpected bills for essentials: don’t go to high-interest payday lenders. No-interest and low-interest loans of up to $3000 available from Good Shepherd Microfinance.

 * Utility providers will negotiate a payment plan to keep the power, water and gas on – ring them

*  Banks will make hardship provisions available if you are having trouble paying your mortgage – call your lender

* Go to Services Australia and use the payment and service finder to work out what help you can get 

* A list of Services Australia phone numbers for different information lines from crisis payments to low income health care cards is here 

* Visit the Services Australia and register for a Jobseeker Payment or call to register on 132 850

 * Centrelink advance payments are available in some circumstances 

* You can get rent assistance from Services Australia if you are on a JobSeeker payment.

* National Debt Hotline for free advice and support for those in financial difficulty 1800 007 007



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