ABC Radio Adelaide Drive – youth unemployment figures

Thursday, 14 May 2020

SUBJECT: Youth unemployment figures.

JULES SCHILLER: Amanda Rishworth is the Shadow Federal Minister for Youth and she joins me now, welcome Amanda.

AMANDA RISHWORTH, SHADOW MINISTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT: Great to be with you. 

SCHILLER: So Amanda you’re worried about youth unemployment and the effects of COVID on that demographic?

RISHWORTH: Yes, the figures out today suggest there’s more than double the national average of youth unemployment, 13.8 per cent nationally but in South Australia it’s 15.1 per cent. We know that young people particularly are more likely to have had casual jobs, to have not had been in their jobs for as long. And so that figure is very concerning because what it demonstrates is young people have really taken the big hit when it comes to this crisis of employment.

SCHILLER: Scott Morrison was asked a question along those lines from a Triple J reporter that he shut down today, did you hear his response and what did you think of it?

RISHWORTH: Yeah, I am just a bit concerned that there isn’t more empathy out there for young people. Young people work really hard, they often have a couple of jobs, which also might make them slip through the Jobkeeper program. And really when you look not just at employment but at this whole crisis, there was a report out last week from the Brain and Mind Centre that said if we don’t do something, youth suicide could indeed get much worse. So I really think we have to recognise that young people are particularly affected by this crisis, both with employment, their lifestyle, the way they interact with people, and that they are quite vulnerable. I think we need to give them special attention as we move out of this crisis.

SCHILLER: How would you do that Amanda? What would you suggest?

RISHWORTH: Well there’s a couple of things. One we need to have a re-look at the Jobkeeper program and see if there’s some targeting we can do around young people, I think that’s really important. The second thing is really look at skills and training, and of course we are not necessarily going to have the same economy that we had pre-COVID. There are questions around international travel, questions about what kind of economy we are going to have and it could be quite different. So what we need to do is be very quick at supporting young people to potentially re-train and get some skills in the economy that starts emerging. As well as what John was talking about before in stimulating economic growth and matching those young people with the short term and long term jobs that are out there. So I think a specific plan that does focus on young people is really important.

The other thing we’ve got to be really careful of is making sure we’re really well calibrated when withdrawing the Jobkeeper program. If you’re on Jobkeeper you’re not featured in those unemployment figures –

SCHILLER: And six million I think it was.

RISHWORTH: It’s huge, and many of those might not have work at the moment or without that payment there would not be work for them. So it’s very important that as we move through this we don’t just go right here’s an artificial date and that’s it, we’ve got to calibrate it to the industries and the jobs very carefully.

SCHILLER: Thank you Amanda Rishworth.

ENDS

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