New statistics suggest Labor has made it increasingly difficult for Latrobe Valley youth to enter the workforce, Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Melina Bath says.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics this week released figures showing youth unemployment in the Latrobe Valley and wider Gippsland has climbed 3.1 per cent since Daniel Andrews came into office in December 2014, currently at 14.4 per cent.
Just 7065 young people in the region have a full time job – down 3535 young people under Labor. Part-time unemployment has also dropped by 957.
Overall, there are currently 4492 less young people in jobs now than there were when Labor came to office.
Ms Bath said the new figures were frightening and unacceptable.
“With major employers like Hazelwood Power Station and Carter Holt Harvey forced by city-centric Labor policy to close their doors, many young Gippslanders are struggling to get into the workforce,” she said.
“We’ve also seen TAFE and training enrolments drop by thousands under Labor, courses being cut, and young people not getting that critical support at this important – and often daunting – time in their lives.”
Nationals Shadow Minister for Training, Skills and Apprenticeships and Shadow Minister for Young Victorian Steph Ryan said Labor had left young people to fend for themselves while it fought off the Greens on environmental and social issues in the city.
“We’ve had report after report telling us that Labor is failing to properly fund the training sector,” she said.
“The Productivity Commission report in May showed $160 million had been gutted from VET in the previous year, and the Minister admitted at a Public Accounts and Estimates Committee hearing just weeks later than Labor’s mishandling of the scheme meant that only half of students completing a VET qualification were getting jobs.
“Labor needs to spend less time discussing ways of killing the Latrobe Valley’s energy industry and more time solving the very real regional jobs crisis it has created.”