Thursday, 19 September 2019
BRENDAN O’CONNOR MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND INDUSTRY SHADOW MINISTER FOR SCIENCE
SHADOW MINISTER FOR SMALL AND FAMILY BUSINESS
MEMBER FOR GORTON
AMANDA RISHWORTH MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION AND DEVELOPMENT
SHADOW MINISTER FOR YOUTH
MEMBER FOR KINGSTON
Today’s labour force figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show the youth unemployment rate continues to sit stubbornly high at more than double the rate of the national unemployment rate.
With a youth unemployment rate of 11.7 per cent, there are 260,000 unemployed young Australians.
Securing and maintaining a job can have a lasting impact on the life of a young person. A meaningful job at a young age can open the door to a lifelong career and a positive relationship with the workforce, whereas persistent unemployment can be the start of lifelong disadvantage and struggle.
Unemployment has a ripple effect through the lives of young people, with repercussions including risk of homelessness and mental health issues.
Despite the stubbornly high youth unemployment figures, this Government is not taking the issue seriously.
We know education and training is key to better employment outcomes. Yet this Government has overseen six years of cuts to TAFE and training that has resulted 150,000 fewer apprentices and trainees.
Last week’s Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report highlighted the shocking fact that 2018 produced the lowest number of new apprenticeships and traineeships since 1998.
The Government’s half-hearted attempts to get young people into work have also resulted in no meaningful change. Their signature PaTH internship program has failed in its first two years of operation.
It has failed in terms of participation, falling well short of their target of 30,000 internship placements per year, with the most recent figures in Senate Estimates showing only 8,234 young people have commenced internships between April 2017 and January 2019.
It has failed to produce real job outcomes, with recent reports indicating that only 30 per cent of participants are being offered a job at the end of their internship.
The Government needs to do much better at addressing the complex issue of youth unemployment, rather than just offering unpaid, dead-end internships.
Every young person should have the opportunity to reach their potential and succeed in life. Unfortunately many young Australians are doing it tough and this Government continues to let them down.