More action needed to tackle youth unemployment in Australia
More needs to be done to tackle “systematic and structural issues” behind high youth unemployment, a youth association has said, as the Federal Government launches a $50 million scheme to help vulnerable people.
Federal Employment Minister Michaelia Cash last week launched a new program to help vulnerable young people who were long-term unemployed or at risk of becoming such.
Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC) national director Leo Fieldgrass said it was a step in the right direction but the Government could be doing more to create jobs.
“At the moment there are probably five people applying for every one job that’s available,” he said.
“We’ve been in discussions with the Government around the need to create more entry level opportunities for young people.
“We’re working with representatives from both the community sector and the business lobby to come up with ideas for that.
A recent report released by community organisation Brotherhood of St Laurence claimed there was 50 per cent more young people out of work today than at the start of the Global Financial Crisis in 2008.
Ms Cash said the Government’s Empowering Youth Initiative grant scheme would draw on the expertise of service providers who knew their community needs better than the Federal Government did.
She called on not-for-profit community organisations to submit proposals for grants.
“You should always be prepared to go to the experts, to go to the people who do this every single day and say, ‘you tell us about the initiatives that you are utilising, tell us about the results’, and if we can work together, quite frankly, we should,” Ms Cash said.
The funding is part of the Government’s $331 million youth employment strategy announced in this year’s budget. Mr Fieldgrass said the program was replacing parts of former successful program, Youth Connections, which was defunded in a previous federal budget.
“For it to succeed, the Government really needs to look at the systemic and structural issues that are causing both the incredibly high levels of youth unemployment and the barriers to employment and education,” he said.