Aug 11, 2004

Labor commits to special youth initiative for Batemans Bay


Joint Media Release:
Anthony Albanese MP – Shadow Minister for Employment Services & Training, and
Kel Watt – Labor Candidate for Eden Monaro

11 August 2004

Young jobseekers in Batemans Bay and surrounding districts will receive a new, highly intensive form of assistance if a Latham Labor Government is elected later this year. This assistance will be delivered through a program called Link-Up utilising the expertise of Job Network providers.

Anthony Albanese, Shadow Minister for Employment Services and Training, today announced this local commitment with Labor Candidate for Eden Monaro, Kel Watt.

“This localised commitment from Federal Labor follows strong representations from Kel Watt who has been extremely concerned about the very high rate of teenage unemployment in the region,” Mr Albanese said.

“Since the last Federal election the teenage unemployment rate in the Batemans Bay region has risen from 24% to 25.7%.”

Link-Up will start in January 2005 in regions suffering from high rates of teenage unemployment. Along with today’s commitment, Labor has already announced that Wollongong, northern Adelaide, south east Melbourne, northern Tasmania, the Hunter and Queensland’s Wide Bay will also benefit from Link-Up. Link-Up is a $49.4 million investment in these communities.

Link-Up will deliver intensive, job-focused assistance to young jobseekers aged 15 to 18 from the moment they start receiving unemployment benefits. Currently many young jobseekers have to be out of work for at least 12 months before they can access such assistance.

Mr Watt said “The high rate of youth unemployment here in and around Batemans Bay unacceptable. Link-Up is all about early intervention, so that today’s early school leavers don’t become tomorrow’s long term unemployed.”

Link-Up is a key element of Labor’s $700 million Youth Guarantee: Learn or Earn policy, announced by Mark Latham during his Budget Reply. Each year the potential of 45,000 young people who leave school early and don’t go on to full time work or study is lost. Labor’s Youth Guarantee will fix this situation by:

• Abolishing TAFE fees for secondary school students;

• Providing 7,500 additional apprenticeships;

• Creating 7,500 additional TAFE places;

• Establishing a new Jobs Gateway: wage and training subsidies for 10,000 early school leavers.

“Labor’s Youth Guarantee will deliver new hope and opportunities to 13,000 disadvantaged young people. It will also ensure that local employers can get the skilled workers they need to expand their businesses. A Latham Labor Government will invest in the talents and potential of young people in our district and across Australia,” Mr Watt said.