May 19, 2004

Labor invests in jobless young South Australians


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 19 May 2004

A Latham Labor Government will ensure young jobseekers living in the northern suburbs of Adelaide receive a new highly intensive form of assistance that aims to get them either learning or earning before they become tomorrow’s long term unemployed. This assistance will be delivered through a program called Link-Up.

Northern Adelaide has been selected for one very obvious reason: it is an area with the highest youth unemployment rate in the country. Since the last Federal election youth unemployment in the region has increased from 27.9% (November 2001) to 37.9% today – a massive 35% increase in less than 3 years.

Link-Up will start in January 2005 in regions blighted by high youth unemployment using the expertise of existing Job Network providers. Link-Up will deliver intensive, job-focused assistance to young jobseekers aged 15 to 18 from the moment they start receiving unemployment benefits. Currently young jobseekers have to be out of work for at least 12 months before they can access such assistance.

Link-Up represents a $49.4 million investment in disadvantaged communities and will help 13,000 young jobseekers across the country.

Link-Up will provide a first step on the employment ladder for those young Australians who have never held down a job before, have left school early, or only have a basic high school education.

Link-Up is a key element of Labor’s $700 million Youth Guarantee: Learn or Earn announced by Mark Latham during his Budget Reply.

Each year in Australia we squander the potential of 45,000 young people who leave school early and don’t go on to full time work or study. Labor’s Youth Guarantee will provide new opportunities to these teenagers by:

• Lifting school retention by 15,000;

• Abolishing TAFE fees for secondary school students;

• Providing 7,500 additional apprenticeships;

• Creating 7,500 additional TAFE places for 15 to 18 years;

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

Staying at home on unemployment benefits will no longer be an option.

Labor’s Youth Guarantee will deliver new hope and opportunities to 133,000 disadvantaged young Australians. It will also help address the growing shortage of skilled workers which looms as a threat to Australia’s future economic prosperity.

A Latham Labor Government will invest in the talents and potential of all young Australians.