Today in Albion Park, the Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Brendan O’Connor, joined Stephen Jones, Member for Whitlam, and Sharon Bird, Member for Cunningham at a local jobs forum to talk about job creation across the Illawarra.

Brendan O’Connor said key issues such unemployment was a significant issue across the region, and a key focus for the day was on jobs, education and training, penalty rates, 457 work visas and unpaid work.


“From today, we can see unemployment is a significant issue across the Illawarra, and there are areas across the Illawarra where unemployment is well above the national average,” said Mr O’Connor.


“Places like Berkeley, Warrawong and Windang sit at a startling 13.4 per cent and areas like Warilla are hovering at 12 per cent.”


Stephen Jones, Member for Whitlam said he is deeply concerned about families in the area, who are trying to get by without secure employment.


“In Wollongong and Shellharbour, just under 1 in 6 families with kids under 15 are jobless,” said Mr Jones.


“This is a little over double what we see in areas like Woollahra or Waverly in Malcolm Turnbull’s electorate.”


“Malcolm Turnbull’s only jobs plan is to keep his own job. It’s time he spent as much time fighting for Australian jobs as he does for himself.


Sharon Bird, Member for Cunningham said education needs to sit hand in hand with job creation, to ensure we’re future proofing the next generation for the evolving job market.


“You can’t have a workforce and flourishing industry without skilled workers,” said Ms Bird.


“Malcolm Turnbull has gutted TAFEs and slashed $30 billion in funding from our schools.”


“This is setting up areas like the Illawarra to fail. We’ve got widespread issues with inequality across regional Australia, and if we’ve got people who are unemployed because they can’t get the skills they need, the Government has a lot to answer for.”