House debates

Monday, 26 October 2020

Constituency Statements

COVID-19: Employment

10:36 am

Photo of Ted O'BrienTed O'Brien (Fairfax, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise today to pay tribute to young Australians, particularly young Australians in the seat of Fairfax on the Sunshine Coast. We've all been hit by COVID-19 in many different ways. The youth unemployment rate on the Sunshine Coast is now 15.9 per cent. That means that there are 5,400 people between the ages of 15 and 24 on the Sunshine Coast who are looking for a job but can't find a job. That's tough. The end of the year 12 schooling year draws near, so there will be more people out there looking for work. This is why the government has introduced the measures it has introduced, particularly the JobMaker program and the hiring credit scheme. Because the Sunny Coast is so reliant on tourism and, therefore, hospitality and retail our younger people have been hit more than most and our youth unemployment rate is typically far higher than elsewhere in the country. But beyond the government doing its bit, beyond young people doing their bit and beyond businesses trying to employ, I encourage young people to have a go at starting their own businesses.

As some of my colleagues in this chamber may be aware, about 6½ years ago I started a not-for-profit called Generation Innovation. It helps 15- to 25-year-olds start their own businesses. Young people typically lack three things when they want to start a business: experience, a network and capital to get going. As a broader community on the Sunshine Coast, through Generation Innovation, we wrap these three things around young people to encourage them to follow their ability and passion to start their own businesses.

Right now, as part of this year's annual GI Challenge, we have 10 ventures in our midst. There are 10 new startups on the Sunny Coast, each of them vying for the attention of the marketplace. This is a demonstration that, if as a broader community you pull together and encourage young people to follow not just their passion but their gifts and abilities, and to establish a venture, you can assist young people to move all the way from idea generation through to venture startup. As we move into the economic recovery from COVID-19 let us ensure that we work not just as a government but as community members to support our younger people as they seek their own jobs.