Unemployment levels increase

IF YOU believe it’s hard to find a job on the Fraser Coast you are spot on with your judgement.

The latest small labour markets figures just released by the Federal Government show that in the last 12 months there has been a major increase in unemployment in both Hervey Bay and Maryborough.

In September 2008 Hervey Bay’s coastal area recorded a 5.9 per cent unemployment rate out of a labour force of 22,841.

By September 2009 the rate had increased to 8.1 per cent.

But the areas inland from the coastal strip scored a 7.2 per cent rate in September 2008 that increased to 9.8 per cent out of work in September last year.

Maryborough didn’t fare much better.

Out of a work force of 12,778, 5.9 per cent were out of a job in September 2008 and 7.2 per cent by last September.

Hervey Bay Chamber of Commerce president David Rees said he was far from surprised at the latest increases.

“These figures are what the chamber predicted over two years ago when the Hervey Bay council was wasting millions of dollars in litigation to stop development,” he said yesterday.

“Those costs, followed by the prohibitive infrastructure charges imposed by the amalgamated council, have killed the development goose which lays employment’s golden egg.

“It is great to see Mayor Mick Kruger taking a proactive role but concessions granted now are two years too late to provide any significant relief in the short term.”

Maryborough Chamber of Commerce president Lance Stone, however, said the higher unemployment figures were a direct result of the financial insecurity that people had been feeling.

“On a positive note we’re cautiously optimistic about potential improvement in employment figures in this region for reasons including the new coal mine opening up,” he said.

“And recently we’ve seen council on the front foot with some developments and that bodes well. Council had a two year probationary period to get its affairs in order and now is the time for them to deliver.”

Other seasonally adjusted figures showed that the Isis went from 5.5 per cent in 2008 to 7.4 per cent last September, while even the Burnett fared badly with a 1.4 per cent leap across the region.

An area comparable in the size of its workforce to Hervey Bay is Buderim on the Sunshine Coast. It went from 2.5 per cent to 4.3 per cent.

In Mount Isa, an area comparable in workforce figures to Maryborough, the 2008 rate was 5 per cent, climbing to 5.1 per cent in 2009.

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