Aug 24, 2004

Long term youth unemployment worsens under Howard


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 24 August 2004

The Howard Government has failed to make a dent into levels of long term youth unemployment. In fact the problem is worse today than it was at the time of the last Federal election.

Between 2001 and 2004 the number of Australians aged under 21 claiming unemployment benefits for more than a year has increased by 10.5% to 49,121 – 60% of which have been on benefits for between 2 and 5 years.

These figures reveal a shocking waste of young talent lie behind the monthly unemployment statistics. They are Howard’s forgotten people.

This data was provided by the Department of Family and Community Services in response to Questions on Notice submitted by Labor (Senate Question on Notice Nos. 2807, 2808 & 2809).

During a period of extended economic growth long term youth unemployment should be going down, not up. These figures are an indictment on the Howard Government’s policies and highlight once again their indifference to the most vulnerable people in our society.

The Howard Government’s labour market programs, in particular its Job Network, are not working for young, disadvantaged jobseekers.

While the Howard Government believes that forcing jobseekers to attend numerous meetings will lead to future employment opportunities, Labor recognises that without relevant skills and recent experience in a mainstream workplace the young jobseekers will continue to find it difficult convincing employers to take them on.

Labor’s $700 million Youth Guarantee: Learn or Earn will prevent young Australians being consigned to a life on benefits by giving them the training, educational and employment opportunities they so desperately need.

Labor will ensure that young people’s first post school experience is not unemployment.