Tuesday, 6 January 2015
Revealing a basic limitation of regional employment services contracted by the Abbott Government - they can't do much if the jobs aren't there
The new Australian Minister for Social Services Scott Morrison has begun to talk up the need to raise the retirement age to seventy years of age and make people under thirty wait six months for the dole, stating that he would be actively engaging with the Senate to get the additional bills through in the new year.
Clearly he has not looked beyond his own rigid personal and political ideologies.
This excerpt from a 29 December 2014 article in The Northern Star clearly demonstrates the limitations of employment services contracted by the Abbott Government in regional areas:
Murwillumbah resident Ainslie Meiklejohn-Griffiths, 29, has an honours degree in sociology and yet struggled to find work for more than 18 months in her chosen field.
Well-suited to working in the community, social services and local government sector, she never progressed to the interview stage of several short-term contract positions.
This despite her achieving first class honours at Griffith University with her marks ranking her in the top 5% of the university.
"With my Arts degree I also had 100 hours of volunteer service working on policy development at a PCYC," she said.
"I was looking for social work jobs, youth jobs, office work, anything to do with writing."
Ms Meiklejohn-Griffiths' job search took in an huge area from Lismore to north of Brisbane.
"I was well aware I'd have to travel to work," she said.
"I'd accepted that challenge but I was still looking - fruitlessly."
Working with a case manager from a local employment agency was a waste of time - the only jobs available were shelf-stacking in supermarkets or fast food service roles.
"They didn't even find me those jobs, but being a jobseeker and not liking having no money, there were the jobs I was already applying for off my own bat."
"It was a waste of time for everyone involved.
"I didn't want to be in that position but I was - it was a waste of services."
The fact of the matter is that the Northern Rivers region the industry pool which provides employment is limited and both unskilled and skilled jobs are not always available.
Something the Social Services Minister will probably fail to either recognise or fully appreciate given his political history in government and personality profile – making him more likely to see only the negatives in these Northern Rivers regional employment statistics:
Coffs Harbour-Grafton regional area employment statistics for May 2014 (taking in the state electorates of Clarence (69%), Coffs Harbour (100%), and Oxley (18%):
Employment grew by an average of 1.8% annually between 2000 and 2014. Across NSW the average annual growth was 1.4%.
Overall unemployment rate - 6.3% (Rank 13). Regional NSW overall unemployment rate - 6.2%.
Overall labour force participation rate – 56.6%. Regional NSW overall labour force participation rate – 58.9%.
Youth unemployment rate - 10.3%. Regional NSW youth unemployment rate - 12.5%
Youth labour force participation rate - 68.0%. Regional NSW youth labour force participation rate - 67.8%
Proportion of local employees in part-time positions - 40%. Regional NSW - 33.6%.
Richmond-Tweed regional area employment statistics for May 2014 (taking in the state electorates of Ballina (100%), Clarence (31%), Lismore (91%), and Tweed (100%):
Employment grew by an average of 1.6% annually between 2000 and 2014. Across NSW the average annual growth was 1.4%.
Overall unemployment rate – 7.2% (Rank 5). Regional NSW overall unemployment rate - 6.2%.
Overall labour force participation rate – 55.7%. Regional NSW overall labour force participation rate – 58.9%.
Youth unemployment rate – 11.5%. Regional NSW youth unemployment rate - 12.5%.
Youth labour force participation rate - 77.5%. Regional NSW youth labour force participation rate - 67.8%/
Proportion of local employees in part-time positions – 41%. Regional NSW - 33.6%.
Coalition ministers at both state and federal level have a tendency to fail to realise that labour force participation rates and youth participation rates have both risen since 2000 within what is essentially a small Northern Rivers industry pool and, to ignore the fact that veterans/aged pensioners make at least half of the 38.2% of the region’s population over 15 years of age receiving cash transfer payments from the Commonwealth.
The real productivity picture for the Northern Rivers shows how hard the region does work to make its own prosperity:
Across a range of industries, the numbers show that the value of the saleable product per employee is significantly higher than average.
Our 12,900 retail trade workers boost the local economy by $64,674 every year, compared to the state average of $58,697 and national return of $62,282.
Another of the stand-out numbers shows how amazingly competitive our local manufacturing is. Each of our 6,538 manufacturing employees contributes $167,126 to our local economy, far surpassing the state and national averages of $135,674 and $118,609 respectively.
At the big end of town, although our numbers are below the average, these industries are still huge contributors to the local economy: the information, media and telecommunications workers flow back $214,920 each (compared to state $255,486 and national $232,875) and every financial and insurance services worker brings $319,987.
It would be a tragedy if, in driving the Abbott Government’s fascist ideology forward, Scott Morrison broke this region’s will to succeed against the odds.