House debates

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Statements by Members


1:33 pm

Photo of Emma McBrideEmma McBride (Dobell, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Almost one in five young people on the Central Coast of New South Wales is currently looking for work. The coast has the eighth-highest youth unemployment rate in Australia, at 18.6 per cent, and joblessness is growing. Australia-wide, if you are under 24 you are three times less likely to have a job than if you are over 24. It's shocking and it's unfair.

As this week's Brotherhood of St Laurence report highlighted, the prospects of young people are not improving. What is the government doing about it? It is slashing school funding, increasing student debt and promising tax cuts to the big end of town. Alarmingly, the jobless figures come hot on the heels of the youth homelessness figures in my community, which also show that on the Central Coast we are badly affected. Wyong and Gosford have a rate of homelessness that is twice the average rate in New South Wales, and many of those without a home are young people who are couch surfing and living rough.

Homelessness and joblessness go hand in hand. We have dedicated services on the coast, such as the Salvation Army's Oasis Centre Wyong and Coast Shelter, working hard to help young people find homes and find jobs, but more must be done—this matters!

I'm pleased that Labor's shadow minister for the future of work, the member for Chifley, will join me for a roundtable next week to talk about jobs for young people on the coast. This must be our priority. It is really important. We can do something about it.