Unemployment in Ipswich is on the rise.
Unemployment in Ipswich is on the rise. Craig Warhurst

Jobless numbers ring alarm bells

STATE Government policies were playing a major role in destroying the Gympie region’s economy and urgent action was needed to reverse the area’s declining fortunes, MP David Gibson said yesterday.

“You don’t want to talk down your community, but at the same time I can’t be an ostrich and not speak up for the area.”

He was commenting on the latest jobless figures for Gympie’s Wide Bay Burnett region, saying the figures were the worst the region had seen at least since 2007.

“We have all the other signs as well – housing stress, mortgage defaults and welfare reports. All the indicators show we’re going backwards,” he said.

He said that year on year, with no seasonal influences, unemployment was now 10.6% (up from 7.9% last year) with 13,800 jobless, 5000 more than at the same time last year.

The new unemployment reality seems to have hit especially hard at women. Their figure of 10.6% represents a severe worsening, especially for female jobseekers. Last year’s overall figure was 7.9% and the year before that the figure for June was 6.4%.

Female unemployment went up from 5.4% to 12.5% and the increase for males was from 8.1% to 9%. Mr Gibson said it was possible that cost-of-living pressures had driven more women to seek work, forcing up jobseeker numbers, but government policies had also been “ripping jobs out of our area, with things like relocating Main Roads (to Maroochydore) and its forestry sell-off.

“They don’t have any policies that are bringing jobs to Gympie.

“All the indications are we are going backwards and I’m not going to be silent about it.

“I’m going to talk to the Treasurer (Andrew Fraser), businesses and anyone I have to talk to, to get action on jobs.

“This is going to be my Number One focus.

“I’m going to do my darnedest to make sure the policies of the government don’t hurt Gympie and to bring jobs back,” Mr Gibson said.

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