Upcoming NSW Budget must address youth unemployment crisis on South Coast

Next month's NSW Budget must invest in support young people getting into work on the South Coast, according to Greens MP and South Coast spokesperson Justin Field.

New Labor Force Statistics released by the NSW Parliamentary Library have revealed youth unemployment reached staggering highs at 23.7% compared to a statewide average of 11.9% across NSW. View interactive map and charts here: https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/researchpapers/Pages/NSW-regional-labour-force-data---interactive-portal.aspx

The total number of people employed in the South Coast and Southern Highlands region fell for the sixth straight month  The total number of employed person has fallen 10.8% since October 2016 representing a total reduction of people in work in the region.

While total unemployment in the region has been relatively static over the same period (between 6.4% and 7.4%) the falling number of employed persons is being primarily driven by a falling participation rate that is now down to 46.4%. This compared to a state wide average of 63.5% and a regional NSW average of 59.1%.

Greens Spokesperson for the South Coast Justin Field said, "The employment statistics for young people on the South Coast are unacceptable and we need a contribution in next month's state budget to turn work to restore hope for young people across the region.

"The Labor Force statistics are showing some significant trends that paint an economically challenging time for the region.

"More than half working aged adults on the South Coast have left the labour market. They are not working or looking for work. When you add this to the significant number of retirees you start to realise that the economic base of the region is built on a smaller and smaller number of people - that's despite a growing population.

"We need to know more about what is driving these statistics. Are people opting out of the workforce for lifestyle reasons or because they have given up trying to find a job. I suspect for young people it is a later and that is a growing tragedy that needs to be addressed

"With such significant Government employers and other major industries in the region, it is shocking to think that almost 1 in 4 young people cannot get a job.

"The Illawarra Youth Employment Strategy is less than one year old and while I hope it is a success, it is clear that the situation is not yet getting better on the South Coast. The conditions on the South Coast are quite different from the Illawarra and it is time for a local solution.

"We need resources to do that and I'm calling on South Coast MP Shelly Hancock to make representations to the Treasurer and ensure the region gets the financial support we need to start to turn these figures around,” he said.

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