Feb 26, 2003

Wide Bay-Burnett youth unemployment at 37.6%

WIDE BAY-BURNETT YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT AT 37.6%

MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 26 February 2003

New employment figures released by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations reveals that youth unemployment in the Wide Bay-Burnett region is one of the highest in the country.

Youth unemployment in the Wide Bay-Burnett region has reached a shocking 37.6 per cent – more than 14 percentage points above the national average.

These figures show that the Howard Government had given up on unemployed young people in the region.

Too many young people in the Wide Bay-Burnett region are losing their way in life. It’s a tragedy and it’s time for the Howard Government to act.

After ten years of economic growth, youth unemployment in the region remains unacceptably high.

The Howard Government must take action to get more young people living in the Wide Bay-Burnett region back into the education system or in decent jobs. The Howard Government must work harder to bring youth unemployment in the region in line with the rest of the country.

However, the high level of youth unemployment should come as no surprise. Under this Government funding for labour market programs has been slashed.

The Government’s cornerstone labour market program, the Job Network, is clearly failing to tackle entrenched joblessness. According to the Government’s own data, only 17% of those who participated in Intensive Assistance – the highest level of help available through the Job Network – found full-time employment.

Overall unemployment in the Wide Bay-Burnett region also remains well above the national average at 13.2%.

Instead of preaching to the unemployed, the Government should be investing more in the assistance that will help them move permanently from welfare into work.

The five regions with highest youth unemployment rates in the country are: Lower Northern Sydney (35.3%); Central Perth (41.0%); Richmond-Tweed and Mid-North Coast, NSW (36.9%); Western Adelaide (37.6%); Wide Bay-Burnett, QLD (37.6).