90 second statement - Community Jobs Forum
Mr PITT (Hinkler) (13:46): Last week I hosted a community jobs forum at the Hervey Bay Boat Club both to inform job seekers about help available to them and to encourage local businesses to employ.
Unemployment is the single biggest issue in my electorate of Hinkler. Reducing unemployment is my No. 1 priority, and I wanted to ensure Hinkler residents were well informed about the options available to them.
My office sent out some 10,000 invitations by email, letterbox drop, job agencies and training providers. As a result, about 100 people attended the forum. Several attendees contacted my office afterwards to say just how worthwhile and valuable it was to them. As well as attendees receiving information about the various federal government incentives and programs, guest speakers provided tips on how to start a small business, how to prepare for job interviews and how to make your resume stand out.
I would like to thank Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Luke Hartsuyker, who attended the forum at my invitation and spoke about jobs and industries of the future and what skills would be in high demand.
I recognise that one of the major hurdles that job seekers face locally is a lack of vacancies and, of course, the high number of applicants. That is why we are working to give businesses the confidence to expand.
The complex economic and social reasons for our region's historically high unemployment rate cannot be addressed overnight, but we are making some real progress.
The latest ABS data for the Wide Bay region shows unemployment has dropped to 8½ per cent. That is still unacceptably high, but with major projects like the gas pipeline and the Knauf manufacturing plant on the way I look forward to further improvement.