Alistair Brightman

Employment figures paint grim picture

THERE are lies, there are damned lies and then there are the unemployment statistics and no matter how you view the September figures for this region, they look a tad damning.

The newly published 9.3 per cent unemployment rate for the Wide Bay/Burnett area remains uncomfortably above the state and national rates.

September figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics have the Queensland unemployment rate at 5.3 per cent, with the country rating at 5.1 per cent.

“It was 8.3 per cent 12 months ago,” Hinkler MP Paul Neville said of the new Wide Bay tally.

Not unexpectedly, Mr Neville stuck the boot into Labor as he focused on youth employment in the regions.

The numbers of 15-24 year-olds who are full-time unemployed in the Wide Bay/Burnett has climbed from 16.2 per cent at the change of government in 2007 to 22.7 per cent.

“One in four kids leaving school can’t get a job.

“We need to target industries that can be helped much more. The stimulus package should extend to seed-funded industries which can lead to long-term, sustained employment.

“This allows local industry, probably using local resources, the opportunity to employ local people.

“We should be trying to stimulate an existing infrastructure like tourism infrastructure to track holiday deals to Hervey Bay.”

The 9.3 per cent figure is diluted by drilling down into the ABS figures.

The most recent numbers for statistical local areas, published in June, showed separate parts of the Fraser Coast running at different rates.

Based on the old shire council regions the quarterly stats revealed Hervey Bay (A) at 8.1 per cent, Hervey Bay (B) 8.4 per cent, Maryborough 6.8 per cent, Tiaro 6.5 per cent and Woocoo 6.8 per cent.

When averaged over the past 12 months, the unemployment rate for the Wide Bay/Burnett is 6.9 per cent to September, and averaged over the last three months comes in at 7.5 per cent.

“It’s stable in the sense that we are not seeing lots and lots of job losses and redundancies. But we are not seeing a lot of recruitment either,” Jason Millward, the Federal Government’s local employment co-ordinator, said yesterday.



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