South Coast youth unemployment at crisis levels

Youth unemployment on the South Coast is at crisis levels according to NSW Greens MP and South Coast spokesperson Justin Field. The number of unemployed young people on the South Coast and Southern Highlands has hit 21.2%, the highest rate since July 2013.

The figures were published this week by the NSW Parliamentary Library in their January Labour Force Trends report incorporating data from the ABS Labour Force Survey.

The figures showing near record high youth unemployment on the South Coast and Southern Highlands were released the same day as the federal announcement that Sunday penalty rates will be cut for hospitality and retail workers. This move will see many young people with jobs in the region facing a cut in their take home pay.

NSW Greens MP and spokesperson for the South Coast Justin Field said, “Youth unemployment on the South Coast and in the Southern Highlands is at crisis levels.

“Local youths are stuck in a vice of disadvantage -- many who want to work can’t find employment and many in jobs are now facing a significant pay cut from the unfair removal of Sunday penalty rates.

“While employment opportunities have grown slightly elsewhere across NSW, they have tanked in our region.

“Today more than 21% of young people aged 15-24 in the Southern Highlands and South Coast are unemployed and face challenging futures.

“Youth employment continues to rise across the South Coast and Illawarra but is highest on the South Coast at 21.2% with the Illawarra at 15%.”

“While the Berejiklian Government is busy in Sydney privatising the state’s assets, regional young people are facing the bleak reality of unemployment, underemployment and wage cuts through weakened Sunday penalty rates.

“Creating and sustaining regional jobs needs Government investment and support, not an approach that victimises the unemployed or continually seeks to attack the pay and conditions of young workers.

“I’m not going to pretend there is an easy solution to this, but at these crisis levels, all sides of politics, unions, employer groups, and the community has to work together to create real opportunities for our region’s young people.

“This is a community with a lot to offer in terms of its natural beauty and tourism, skills and infrastructure to support manufacturing and agriculture as well as service provision in health, ageing and government services.

“We need a coordinated strategy to give regional young people the opportunity to find rewarding jobs and a secure future," Mr Field said.

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