Jul 12, 2004

Labor’s positive agenda for Far North Queensland

LABOR’S POSITIVE AGENDA FOR FAR NORTH QUEENSLAND

MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 12 July 2004

In Cairns today Labor’s Shadow Minister for Employment Services and Training, Anthony Albanese outlined how a Latham Labor government will support the creation of more employment opportunities for young jobseekers and greater job security for mature age workers living in Far North Queensland.

Locally the teenage unemployment rate is currently 14.8%. Across Australia each year 45,000 young people leave school early and don’t go on to full time work or study. Labor is determined to prevent this scandalous waste of potential.

In Far North Queensland nearly half the people aged between 55 and 64 are not in the labour market, many of whom have been forced into early retirement by a lack of job opportunities and support from the government to update their skills.

Already Labor has announced almost $1 billion worth of investment in both early school leavers as part of our Youth Guarantee and older workers as part of our Greater Security, More Opportunities for Mature Age Australians policy.

Under a Latham Labor government young people in Far North Queensland will benefit from:

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

• The creation of more places at Tropical North Queensland TAFE as part of an additional 20,000 places nationally;

• Wage and training subsidies worth $10,000 for local businesses wanting to take on and train early school leavers.

The situation of mature age workers is the other area of the labour market ignored by the Howard Government but urgently requiring positive policies.

Labor will assist mature age workers keep their skills relevant, prevent those who are victims of large scale retrenchment falling into long term unemployment and through the creation of Mature Age Career Centres to provide 63,000 mature age jobseekers with the personalised assistance they need to find work.

With an ageing population wasting the skills and experiences of mature age Australians is no longer an option. The additional investment in both young jobseekers and mature age workers will also help address the acute shortage of skilled workers across the region.

The time for action is now and only Labor has a positive agenda for Far North Queensland.