Aug 24, 2004

Government misleading again: this time it’s on youth unemployment


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 24 August 2004

In response to figures produced by the Department of Family and Community Services showing a 10.5% increase in the number of young people on unemployment benefits for more than a year, the Government has chosen to mislead yet again.

Minister Patterson claimed that: “Under the Howard Government, teenage full time unemployment has significantly dropped, from 11.6 per cent in June 1996 to 7.5 per cent in June 2004”.

Minister, you are wrong.

According the last figures compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) the teenage full time unemployment rate is 22.2% – nearly 3 times what the Minister is claiming. Since the Howard Government was elected this figure has remained stuck at over 20%.

Minister Patterson’s use of wildly inaccurate figures exposes the lengths the Howard Government will go to in order to sweep this problem under the carpet and conceal their complete lack of policy for dealing with youth unemployment.

Despite all her attempts, Minister Patterson cannot hide from her own department’s figures showing that since 1999 the number of young people on unemployment benefits for more than a year has increased by 10.5% to 49,121.

The Howard Government has run out of ideas and has no agenda for addressing Australia’s social and economic challenges.

It is absurd that at a time when businesses are crying out for skilled workers, more than 1 in 5 teenagers are looking for full time work.

By contrast, Labor understands the challenge before our country. Labor’s $700 million Youth Guarantee: Learn or Earn will prevent young Australians being consigned to a life on benefits by giving them the training, educational and employment opportunities they so desperately need.

Labor will ensure that young people’s first post school experience is not unemployment.

The time for action is now and only Labor has a positive plan for the future.