Sep 2, 2004

Labor commits to special youth initiative for Bundaberg


Joint Media Release:
Anthony Albanese MP Shadow Minister for Employment Services & Training, and
Cheryl Dorron Labor Candidate for Hinkler

2 September 2004

Young jobseekers in Bundaberg and the surrounding region 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 existing Job Network providers.

Visiting the Hinkler electorate today, Anthony Albanese, Shadow Minister for Employment Services & Training, announced this local commitment with Labor Candidate for Hinkler, Cheryl Dorron.

“This localised commitment from Federal Labor follows strong representations from Cheryl Dorron 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 Bundaberg region has risen from 32 per cent to 33.5 per cent – the second highest rate in the country”

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 and Newcastle will also benefit from Link-Up. Link-Up will be 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.

Ms Dorron said “The very high rate of youth unemployment here in and around Bundaberg is 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. All young people and their families in Hinkler will benefit from:

• The abolition of TAFE fees for students wanting to learn a trade while still at high school.

• The provision of 7,500 additional apprenticeships and the creation of 7,500 additional TAFE places for 15-18 year olds.

• The establishment of a new Jobs Gateway where local businesses wanting to take on and train early school leavers will have access to a wage and training subsidies worth up to $10,200.

“Labor’s Youth Guarantee will deliver new hope and opportunities to 133,000 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,” Ms Dorron said.