Greens call for community forum to discuss youth unemployment crisis in Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands

The Greens are calling for an urgent roundtable of politicians, service providers, businesses and young people to address the youth unemployment crisis in the Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands after latest data revealed more than a quarter of young people living in the local area are unemployed or underemployed.

Youth unemployment has reached a staggering 27.4 per cent, according to Regional Labour Force data for June 2017 released by the NSW Parliamentary Research Service. The data shows youth unemployment among 15 to 24 years olds in the Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands is:

  • the highest recorded youth unemployment rate anywhere in NSW since June 2012;
  • is more than double the NSW average;
  • up 35 per cent since Oct 2016; and
  • increased by 20 per cent over the past nine months.

Greens MP Justin Field will invite representatives of unemployed youth and their families, local MPs, local government councillors, business representatives, employment agencies and other local service providers to a community forum later this year aimed at identifying barriers and the action needed for addressing the crisis.

“Alarming levels of unemployment in the Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands rob our youth of hope for the future and the opportunity of building the best life possible for themselves and their families,” Mr Field said.

“These figures are shocking. At a time when unemployment is generally low across NSW, our young people are missing out with a long-term and chronic lack of jobs and training opportunities in the local region.

“We need all hands on deck to address this crisis. We need everyone and anyone with an interest in the future of our young people to come together and put forward ideas to solve this crisis.

“There are many factors driving local youth unemployment. It won’t be easy to solve and there is no simple solution, but that doesn’t mean we can just throw our hands in the air and say it’s all too hard.

“We need to get everyone in a room and put together a plan of action otherwise an entire generation will be left behind,” he said.

Parliamentary Research Service’s Regional labour force trends and NSW electorates publication ( June 2017) available here:


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