Peak youth voice urges all parties to Step Up commitments to tackle high youth unemployment rate

Media Release – 12 August 2013

The peak voice for young Australians has today written to the Opposition to urge them to match Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s $35 million commitment to skilling up 8,900 disadvantaged young people to make them job-ready and address our disturbingly high rate of youth unemployment.

The Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC) – Australia’s peak youth affairs body – believes the “Step Into Skills” initiative is an important addition to the suite of measures that Australia needs to address our disturbingly high rate of youth unemployment.

Reynato Reodica, AYAC’s Acting Executive Director, said “our youth unemployment rate is a national disgrace and we need more and more programs like this to address the challenges that our low employment participation rate presents to the nation”

“We need to ask ourselves – where does the revenue to support the health and welfare of the waves of people now entering into retirement come from, if we haven’t created pathways for all young people into meaningful employment?”

One in four Australians aged 15 – 25 years are not engaged in full time education or employment and youth unemployment is more than 4 times the national average.

“At the moment there are too many young Australians who are left without the support they need to find a job and keep it, let alone realise their dreams for the future,” Mr Reodica said.

“Australia needs everybody to get a good start in their work life, and this initiative from the government will mean more young Australians begin their careers in the right way.”

AYAC has also renewed its call for the federal government and opposition to get real about addressing the rising youth unemployment rates and implement a Jobs Guarantee.

Mr Reodica said, “There is only one solution to a jobs crisis – that’s jobs.

“A national first job guarantee, with government partnering with business and the community sector to create entry level jobs and learning opportunities, might be the only way for countless young Australians get the good start to their careers that they would otherwise be denied.”

Media contact: 
Reynato Reodica, AYAC Acting Executive Director – 02 9212 0500

Additional information:
Proposals for a Jobs Guarantee are set out in more detail by economist Professor Bill Mitchell, of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity at Charles Darwin University.
More information can be found on the Centre’s website:
http://www.fullemployment.net/