The release this week of the 2014/15 State of the Regions Report from the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) should sound the alarm to Minister Macfarlane about investing in skills and workforce development, particularly for young people in regional areas.
The report identified following the ten regions with the highest youth unemployment (15-24 year olds):
North West Tasmania
Far North Torres Queensland
SEQ West Moreton
SA Far North and West
Vic South West
Sydney Parramatta Bankstown
Queensland Wide Bay Burnett
Tas Hobart South
Youth unemployment is a persistent problem, particularly in regions in transition. It is more important than ever that the Federal Government supports our young people on their pathways to employment.
In the Budget, the Minister decimated support to apprentices by taking the axe to programs such as Tools for Your Trade, the Australian Apprenticeships Access Program, the Australian Apprenticeships Mentoring Program and the Apprenticeship to Business owner Program.
The Government also axed the Youth Connections program which helped to give vulnerable young people a second chance to obtain training and employment.
In the areas identified in the report, our young people are finding it harder to obtain employment.
Liberal State Governments are implementing savage cuts to TAFE which have resulted in fees rising, courses being cut and the closure of TAFE campuses.
The Government is insisting that young people need to ‘earn or learn’, yet they are ripping away all the programs to support our young people into apprenticeships, into employment and into education.
The Minister needs to look at supporting our young people on their pathways to employment instead of axing the mentoring and access programs that support them.
TUESDAY, 17 JUNE 2014