South Coast youth unemployment crisis shouldn’t be turned into a game show: Greens
The Greens have called on the NSW Government to invest in a local youth employment coordinator, fund the successful InVEST vocational HSC program, and support a local public transport pilot program to address the significant youth unemployment across the region that remains staggeringly high at almost 30 percent.
The call comes as the Government prepares to hold a ‘Shark Tank’ style game show in Wollongong and Nowra tomorrow, canvassing pitches for youth unemployment initiatives and having regions compete against each other for a modest $10 million funding.
Greens MP and South Coast spokesperson Justin Field said this approach shows the Government doesn’t have a comprehensive plan for youth unemployment and won’t listen to community views on what will work at a local level.
“A fraction of the $10 million funding pool could deliver the programs that were recognised as critical priorities in a youth unemployment forum held in Nowra late last year,” he said.
“The Government is aware of the results of the forum, I have written to the Premier, the regional Parliamentary Secretary Gareth Ward and local State and Federal MPs Shelley Hancock and Ann Sudmalis with the results of the event.
“It is disappointing that this game show approach is being prioritised over working with the community to implement programs that work.
“Since the regional employment coordinator was lost in 2014, we’ve seen a dramatic and steady increase in local youth unemployment. That position must be restored. Whether it is federally funded or state funded, the community doesn’t care - we just need it back.
“I have no problem with an event designed to generate new ideas, but this funding is being made across the whole state and there’s no guarantee any of it will make its way to the Shoalhaven and South Coast.
“This region has youth unemployment more than 2.5 times the state average and it needs specific local consideration. There are local solutions from last year’s forum ready to be rolled out - why the delay?
“With a $5.7 billion surplus and $2 billion to splash around on new sports stadiums for metropolitan Sydney, this Government can afford to invest in our young people. .
“The South Coast is a community with a lot to offer in terms of its natural beauty and tourism, construction and agriculture as well as service provision in health, ageing and government services. It’s time to support the region’s young people, give them support and hope and help create a better future,” Mr Field said.
Ideas from the Youth Unemployment Forum held in Nowra on 25 October 2017: