June 05, 2014

Federal Labor’s Social Policy Review will turn its focus to youth unemployment following the release of the Brotherhood of St Laurence’s report ‘Investing in Our Future – Getting our young people into jobs’.

Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Brendan O’Connor, said the Brotherhood’s report highlights the increasing issue of youth unemployment since the Global Financial Crisis, and the need to do something about it. 

“As the Brotherhood report indicates, there are now more than a quarter of a million young Australians aged 15-24 who cannot find work. More than 50,000 have been unemployed for more than a year” said Mr O’Connor.

“In spite of this, the Federal Government has no plan for jobs, and no plan to help young people get work. Their only plan for young people is to cut them off benefits completely.

“Labor believes we need to respond to the issue of youth unemployment by investing in young people, not cutting them off welfare. That is why we are going to bring together Australia’s best minds to think through the best policies to support young people into work.”

Shadow Minister for Families and Payments, Jenny Macklin, said early consultations in the review of Labor’s social policies have been broad ranging, but young people have been a strong theme.

“I have now convened two roundtables – one in Sydney and one in Melbourne - and consulted widely with experts across the country. These consultations have helped us to renew our commitment to an inclusive Australia, and identify the key areas where we need new thinking” she said.

“Investing in our young people is a key component of building a prosperous and inclusive nation. This government has turned its back on young people. Labor is going to begin examining how we can better support young people to become active and productive citizens.”

Shadow Minister for Education and Early Childhood, Kate Ellis, said the transition from school to work was a particularly challenging period in a young person’s life.

“Helping young people manage the risks associated with that transition is the focus of this roundtable” she said.

Shadow Minister for Employment Services, Julie Collins, said not only had the Government moved to cut young people off welfare, it had also cut vital employment services that were designed to help young people get into work. 

“Around the world, austerity measures like the ones in this budget have left youth unemployment at record levels. We do not want to go down that path here.”

“Labor wants to ensure that when we are next in government, we have the best policies to invest in our young people and support them into work.”

This Roundtable is one of a series of roundtables that Federal Labor is convening to help inform the development of a new set of social policies for modern Australia.


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