Sep 25, 2003

Hunter and North Coast: 24 jobseekers for every vacancy


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 25 September 2003

For every job advertised on the Government’s much-vaunted Australian JobSearch website for the Hunter and North Coast region of NSW there are 24 unemployed people. This is the worst result for any region in New South Wales.

An analysis of Government data reveals that there are 38,400 job seekers in the Hunter and North Coast region and only 1,634 jobs on the Job Search website – a majority of which are part-time or casual.

These figures are an indictment on the job creation efforts of the Howard Government. The Government is failing to provide employment opportunities for jobseekers in rural and regional Australia, particularly those who have been out of work for some time.

Recent employment growth has not benefited all the regions and communities of Australia.

At a time when rural and regional jobseekers are clearly need increased help and support, the Howard Government’s cornerstone labour market program – the Job Network – has been lurching towards financial collapse with many providers recently threatening to close their doors. In response the Government has been forced to bailout the Job Network to the tune of $2.1 billion.

Furthermore, from 1 July this year the level of service to local jobseekers was substantially reduced following the Government’s decision to slash the number of Job Network sites in the Hunter and North Coast by an extraordinary 53%. That translated into the loss of 80 offices and hundreds of jobs across the region.

After 7 years in office the Howard Government’s employment strategies have only been able to deliver a rise in long-term unemployment. The number of people unemployed for more than 12 months is higher today than when the Howard Government was first elected to office. This is a national disgrace.

The latest analysis of vacancy numbers confirms that this situation is not likely to improve anytime soon.

Communities in this region include: Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Grafton, Lismore, Bryon Bay, Tweed Heads.