Get the facts: unemployment on the Fraser Coast

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Media statement from Keith Pitt MP provided to the Fraser Coast Chronicle on 10 August 2016 in response to questions about unemployment in the region:

1.       Unemployment is the single biggest issue in your electorate – what is the latest on attracting both public and private investment to the region?

5.       Are you confident you can bring the unemployment rate down, even if it is a fraction, within a year of being re-elected? If not within a year, within two? What is your goal to bring the unemployment rate down to by the end of this term?

The $20 million Wide Bay Burnett Jobs Package, announced during the election campaign, will bring forward local business investment and expansion, to create local jobs in the Hinkler electorate.

This new jobs package will give local businesses the confidence to invest and grow.

It will attract matching funding from participating businesses resulting in a total package of $40 million for the region, which is the economic boost it needs.

These grants will assist existing local businesses to grow and also offer incentives for metropolitan based companies to expand their businesses into the Wide Bay Burnett region which will in turn create new sustainable jobs.

The local community will be involved in assessing their region’s economic opportunities and develop tailored, local investment plans.

In the Hinkler electorate, businesses located in Bundaberg, Childers, Hervey Bay and surrounding areas will be eligible to apply for funding.

2.    Is there more confidence across the region from local businesses to employ staff since the election?

I believe this question would be more appropriate for the Hervey Bay Chamber of Commerce to answer.

3.    What is your advice to desperate job seekers on the Fraser Coast like Andrew doing all they can try to support their families?

The Coalition government has a range of measures to help job seekers stand out in what is a highly competitive market.

A range of programs and services are available through Jobactive to provide targeted support for job seekers, including Work for the Dole, wage subsidies of up to $6,500 (or up to $10,000 for mature age job seekers) that encourage and help businesses to give eligible job seekers a go, and the Job Commitment Bonus, which provides up to $6,500 to encourage Australians aged 18 to 30 who have been on income support payments to find a job and stay off welfare.

Jobactive is also aligned closely with the Australian Government’s Youth Employment Strategy which is delivering services to help young people into work, including the Empowering YOUth initiative, Engaging Early School Leavers initiative, Transition to Work service and the National Work Experience Program.

Job seekers also need to consider moving to where the work is. There is assistance available, with up to $9000 to help people relocate to take up a job.

4.    What is the latest updates on the unemployment status on the Fraser Coast? Has there been any improvements?

Please attribute the statement below to a spokesperson for the Department of Employment:

“The level of unemployment in the Fraser Coast Local Government Area (LGA) has decreased by 623 (or 13.7 per cent) over the year, to stand at 3,937 in the March quarter 2016 (latest available data). Against this background, the unemployment rate in the Fraser Coast LGA has fallen by 2.3 percentage points over the year, to 9.8 per cent in the March quarter 2016.”

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: More detailed and up-to-date labour force data are only available at the ABS Statistical Area Level 4 (4) level. The Fraser Coast LGA is located within the ABS SA4 of Wide Bay. However, as Fraser Coast only comprises around 33 per cent of the Wide Bay SA4, caution should be exercised in interpreting SA4 data as a proxy for labour market conditions in the LGA. In addition, ABS SA4 data have been exhibiting considerable volatility and should be viewed with caution.

6.    When it comes to youth unemployment promises ($840 million package), what can we expect for youth of the Fraser Coast and when will this come into effect in the local community?

Please attribute the below information to a spokesperson for the Department of Employment:

·         The core of the package is a new Youth Jobs PaTH (Prepare-Trial-Hire) initiative that will:

o   Prepare: From April 2017, Employability Skills Training to help young job seekers understand the behaviours expected by employers in the recruitment process and in the workplace.

o   Trial: From April 2017, voluntary internships to give young job seekers a chance to show what they can do in a real workplace.

o   Hire: From January 2017, a new Youth Bonus wage subsidy to support the employment of young people.

·         The Youth Employment Package also includes measures to complement the Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda, with an investment of $88.6 million over four years to encourage young Australians to start a business and create their own job. The following measures will commence from December 2016:

·         The highly successful New Enterprise Incentive Scheme will be expanded to offer an additional 2,300 places per year and broaden its eligibility so that more job seekers, including those not on income support, have the opportunity to participate in the program.

·         ‘Exploring Being My Own Boss’ workshops will be delivered nationally to assist job seekers interested in establishing a small business to understand what is required. An opportunity to participate in an internship with a small business to experience running a small business first hand will also be available.

·         Inclusive Entrepreneurship Facilitators in three regions with high youth unemployment will promote entrepreneurship and join up available services and programs such as jobactive, the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme, microfinance services and start-up incubators.

·         Young people keen on creating their own jobs will be able to access Entrepreneurship Starter Packs that bring together this information, helping them to find the services and assistance they need.

·         The new Youth Employment Package builds on initiatives introduced by the Government last year (Youth Employment Strategy – Budget 2015-16) to help support youth employment.

·         These measures, combined with existing initiatives (including the Transition to Work service, Empowering YOUth Initiatives and ParentsNext), will put young job seekers on a positive path to finding and keeping a job, as we work towards growing our new economy.

·         Region-specific information about Transition to Work services:

o   Transition to Work services commenced in the Wide Bay and Sunshine Coast Employment Region on 14 March 2016. Job Futures and The Busy Group are providing these Transition to Work services to young people in a number of locations. The BUSY Group has a full-time site in Hervey Bay.

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