Youth unemployment hits 21 per cent

YOUTH unemployment in Australia is hitting a crisis point, and a new campaign for youth employment, My Chance, Our Future, was launched by the Brotherhood of St Laurence yesterday.

New ABS data analysed by welfare group Brotherhood of St Laurence shows the unemployment rate for those aged 15 to 24 at an alarming 12.2 per cent across Australia in the year to January. This was up from 8.8 per cent in 2008.

Former News Ltd Australia chief John Hartigan has today backed the campaign and expressed his strong concern about the impact of youth unemployment in communities across the nation. “Make no mistake: no skills, no job, no quality of life,” he warned.

In the month of January, youth unemployment in Australia hit 13.4 per cent.

However, the new Brotherhood of St Laurence snapshot reveals the picture is worse in a range of youth unemployment hotspots across the country. Youth are especially bearing the brunt in outer suburban, regional and rural areas. Over the year to January 2013 youth unemployment hit:

21 per cent in West and North West Tasmania, including Burnie and Devonport
20.5 per cent in Cairns
19.7 per cent in North Adelaide, including Elizabeth and Gawler
17.5 per cent in Hume (Victoria), including the Goulburn Valley, Wodonga and Wangaratta
17.3 per cent in Mandurah (WA)
16.8 per cent in Parramatta (NSW).

Brotherhood Executive Director Tony Nicholson said the data showed a crisis that Australians could not afford to ignore.

“Youth unemployment as high as 21 per cent in some areas of our country is a scandal for our young people, our communities and our economy,” Mr Nicholson said.

“It’s a disaster for our young people who want to work but are getting locked out of the workforce and locked into welfare dependency because they have no choice.

“It’s a disaster for communities, leading to more homelessness and despair for young people and their families.

“And it’s a disaster for the national economy and for taxpayers who will end up paying the bill. It’s time to invest now in our young people so they can contribute to society. Young people tell us all the time that they want to work,” Mr Nicholson said.

The My Chance, Our Future campaign seeks to highlight youth unemployment so Australians can start tackling the crisis together, he said.

As part of this campaign, the Brotherhood of St Laurence will release a new Youth Unemployment Monitor, available at www.bsl.org.au

This month’s Youth Unemployment Monitor includes an introduction by former News Ltd chief John Hartigan, key facts and analysis, as well as some of the human stories of youth unemployment, told by young people.

Source: Brotherhood of St Laurence

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Ryan Fritz

Ryan Fritz started The Advocate in 2014 to provide not-for-profits and charities with another media platform to tell their worthwhile hard news stories and opinion pieces effortlessly. In 2020, Ryan formed a team of volunteer journalists to help spread even more high-quality stories from the third sector. He also has over 10 years of experience as a media and communications professional for not-for-profits and charities.

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