Government Should Tackle Youth Unemployment – Mission Australia
22 February 2016 at 10:36 am
Youth unemployment in Australia remains “unacceptably high” according to one of the country’s largest community service organisations.
In its pre-budget submission, Mission Australia called for the creation of better pathways for disadvantaged young people to transition to employment, “given the failure of current programs to reduce youth unemployment”.
Mission Australia said one in four young people were not fully engaged in education or work and unemployment for young people aged 15-24 year olds was above 12 per cent overall and above 20 per cent in some particularly disadvantaged areas.
“The ‘scarring’ that occurs when someone is out of work for a lengthy period can have negative impacts on the person’s health and reduces the likelihood of future employment,” Mission Australia said.
Mission Australia said the government needed to establish a new program of wrap-around supports for the young job seekers who face the most severe barriers to workforce participation and “supporting demand led employment initiatives, flexible learning options and vocational education and training”.
“Mission Australia welcomed the $212 million Transition to Work program, and believes that it will significantly improve the employment prospects of Stream B jobseekers facing moderate barriers to the job market,” it said.
“However there remains a significant service gap for Stream C job seekers who are ineligible for the Transition to Work program – who are the most disadvantaged young people in our community but have tremendous potential with the right supports to join the workforce and make a productive contribution.
“This cohort of young job seekers in Stream C includes those with complex presentations including young people experiencing poor mental or physical health, substance abuse issues, living within dysfunctional families and with a history of contact with the juvenile justice system.
“These young people remain at extreme risk of long-term unemployment and will struggle to compete with the 18 applicants who on average apply for each lower skilled vacancy.”
Mission Australia also recommended that the government “seize the opportunity of comprehensive reform to increase the equity and efficiency of the taxation system by taking a principled approach that enhances the equity of public support, improves the standard of living of those on the lowest incomes and advances housing affordability”.
It was also recommended that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull ensure the welfare system could provide adequate support to those on low incomes and reduces inequality by raising the base level of payment to be able to meet a person’s basic living expenses.
Mission Australia’s full budget submission can be downloaded here.