Leader of the Opposition Deb Frecklington. Photographer: Liam Kidston
Leader of the Opposition Deb Frecklington. Photographer: Liam Kidston

Border closure blamed for bleak jobless rate

THE Wide Bay has some of the bleakest unemployment rates in Queensland and Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington says closed borders are to blame.

New ABS data reveals the region hit 12,000 unemployed workers in May - an increase of 3000 over the past 12 months.

This brings the Wide Bay's unemployment rate to 9.8 per cent which was an increase of 2.3 per cent since last year.

Only Outback Queensland now has a higher unemployment rate, sitting at 10.3%.

The youth unemployment rate in Wide Bay jumped by 4.8 per cent, to 23 per cent.

Ms Frecklington accused the State Government of having "no plan" to combat the jobless rate, which she said was exacerbated by the Premier's refusal to reopen Queensland's borders.

She said Queensland's success at reducing coronavirus cases meant it was time for financial recovery.

"The curve is flat, it's time for Labor to stop flattening the economy," Ms Frecklington said.

Shannon Fentiman at State Parliament .Pic Annette Dew
Shannon Fentiman at State Parliament .Pic Annette Dew

Employment minister Shannon Fentiman refuted Ms Frecklington's claim that Labor had no plan for the embattled economy, pointing to a number of government initiatives in place.

"There's no doubt Queenslanders are doing it tough right now," Ms Fentiman said.

"That's why we've been calling on the Federal Government to consider extending JobKeeper payments.

"The State Government has been working hard to provide support for Queenslanders to get back to work during COVID-19.

"That's why we launched our Jobs Finder portal to give job seekers an extra hand in finding work, as well as provide support for businesses to take on more employees through our Back to Work program and free apprenticeships initiative."

While Ms Fentiman made no excuses for the surge in unemployment, she said data from job search website, SEEK, suggested plenty of roles were available.

"It's good news to see the latest SEEK job ad figures show Queensland saw an increase of 189 per cent in job ads last month with the largest increase in hospitality and tourism," Ms Fentiman said.



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