Applicants galore for Australia’s dream job

February 19th, 2009 - 12:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Feb 19 (DPA) An Osama bin Laden impostor and someone claiming to work for the Pope are among the 20,000 vying for the highly paid job of looking after a tropical island on the Great Barrier Reef, Australian tourism officials said Thursday.
Applications for the Hamilton Island sinecure are due this weekend.

The successful jobseeker gets a six-figure pay packet and rent-free luxury accommodation for six months in return for doing not much other than keeping a blog on lazy days feeding fish, plucking leaves out of the pool and fetching the mail.

Tourism Queensland chief executive Anthony Hayes said that servers were crashing under the weight of last-gasp applications.

“I suspect there are a lot of people out there who have been working slavishly for a month getting ready, making the most perfect video they possibly can, so we’re expecting a pretty dramatic rush towards the end,” Hayes said.

The US, Italy, Germany and Britain are providing the most jobseekers. Fewer than one in 20 of the 60-second video applications are from Australians.

“For a $1.8 million campaign, we have received nearly $80 million in publicity,” Boyle boasted, noting that the islandreefjob website had received 20 million hits.

The 50 finalists will be announced March 2, with one wildcard candidate named March 24. The winner will be unmasked May 6 and start work July 1.

Canada’s Linda Hoang, 19, is confident going into the contest, but worries that she’s overqualified.

“You know, you’re going to be writing a blog, and I don’t know how interesting a blog from, like, a marine biologist or something is going to be, as opposed to someone who’s never swum with dolphins before and is going to experience it for the first time,” she told a radio station in her hometown of Edmonton, Alberta.

The thousands who will fall at the first hurdle can have another try in the splurge of copycat tourism promotion campaigns springing up in the wake of the Hamilton Island teaser.

Former Olympic runner Ron Clarke, now mayor of Queensland’s Gold Coast, is asking for applicants for the job of caretaker at South Stradbroke Island.

“It’s a similar job in another beautiful corner of the world,” Clarke said. “We may need more than one caretaker on the island - one at each end - but their main duties will include looking after the caravan park and other facilities that we put in place.”

Alas, the salary offered is about right for the job description, and Clarke is cagey about the quality of the accommodation and whether air tickets are included in the package.

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