Jun 7, 2004

Labor commits to special youth initiative for South East


Joint Media Release:
Anthony Albanese MP Shadow Minister for Employment Services & Training
Christian Zahra MP Labor Member for McMillan
Susan Davies Labor Candidate for La Trobe

7 June 2004

Young jobseekers in the Pakenham district and the south eastern suburbs of Melbourne will receive a new, highly intensive form of assistance if a Latham Labor Government is elected later this year.

Shadow Minister for Employment Services and Training Anthony Albanese announced the local commitment with Federal Member for McMillan Christian Zahra and Labor Candidate for La Trobe Susan Davies today.

“This localised commitment from Federal Labor for the south eastern region follows strong representations from both Christian Zahra and Susan Davies, who are extremely concerned about the very high rate of teenage unemployment in this district,” Mr Albanese said.

“Since the last Federal election the teenage unemployment rate in the south eastern region has risen from 19.9% to 33.2% – a massive 66% increase in three years. It is now one of the highest teenage unemployment rates in the country.”

Link-Up will start in January 2005 in regions suffering from high rates of teenage unemployment. It 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 Zahra said “The high rate of youth unemployment here in the Pakenham district and in the south eastern suburbs is unacceptable. Labor’s Link-Up program represents a $49.4 million investment in communities across Australia where youth unemployment is very high. It’s a targeted approach designed provide unemployed young people with an opportunity to get into the employment market. It’s 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 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 Davies said.