Wide Bay among jobless youth hot spots

QUEENSLAND has the third-highest average level of youth unemployment in the country, and Wide Bay is suffering more than most areas from a lack of young people in jobs.

A study by the Brotherhood of St Laurence has found hot spots of up to 21% youth unemployment in other states.

In Gympie and the Wide Bay, 17.6% of residents aged 15-24 are unemployed, making the electorate one of the 10 youth unemployment hot spots of Australia.

Member for Gympie David Gibson said "historically (Gympie) was higher than the state average, and that is of concern and has been for some time".

"It's clear that we need more than just job-skilling programs," he said.

"We actually need to create jobs in our region for young people. This takes a long-term commitment from all levels of government and the community.

"From simple decisions to shop locally and council expediting planning approvals for new construction work, through to state and federal initiatives, more needs to be done.

"This means we must look at what new opportunities exist in our region and how we can develop them and not be afraid to embrace new industries that bring new jobs."

Across Queensland, levels of youth unemployment are at 13.2%, behind only Tasmania at 17.4% and South Australia at 13.7%.

The study highlighted a need for effective mentoring and internships with businesses in regional areas to ensure young people could get the experience needed to secure a long-term job.

Gympie Times


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