Australia’s latest 20 youth unemployment hotspots ranked

4 March 2019

Anti-poverty group’s new report smashes the ‘avocado’ generation myth

Australia’s youth unemployment rate is stagnating at the levels seen in the early 2000s, despite 28 years of economic growth.

A disturbing analysis out today from the Brotherhood of St Laurence maps the 20 worst “hotspot” regions for youth unemployment, and confirms many regional and outer suburban areas bear the heaviest burden.

At 11.2 per cent the youth unemployment rate, for those aged 15 to 24 in the labour force, is still more than twice Australia’s overall unemployment rate (5 per cent), at December 2018, and almost three times the unemployment rate of those aged 25 and over. Across Australia, this translates to a quarter of a million young people who are still unemployed.

In the lead up to a federal election, the Brotherhood’s Executive Director, Conny Lenneberg, challenged policymakers to give Australia’s young people a fair go, including advancing solutions for the unprecedented challenges the emerging generation faces in the world of work in the 21st century.

“Young people come out of education and training with high hopes and aspirations for independence. It’s devastating that despite 28 years of continuous economic growth, too many young Australians are locked out of the prosperity dividend,” Ms Lenneberg said.

The Brotherhood’s report analysed Australian Bureau of Statistics data, ranking the 20 worst hotspots for youth unemployment around the nation:

  • 25.7% in the Queensland–Outback region, including Cape York, Weipa, Mount Isa, Longreach

  • 23.3% in the Coffs Harbour–Grafton region (NSW), including Bellingen, Yamba, Dorrigo

  • 19.8% in the Wide Bay region (Qld), including Bundaberg, Maryborough, Kingaroy, Gympie

  • 18.8 % in the Moreton Bay–North (Qld) region, including Caboolture, Woodford, Kilcoy

  • 18.3% in the Bendigo region (Vic), including Eaglehawk, White Hills, Heathcote, Boort, Wedderburn

  • 17.8% in the South East–Tasmania region, including Oatlands, Huonville, Swansea, Nubeena

  • 17.5 in the Shepparton region (Vic), including Cobram, Yarrawonga, Echuca, Rushworth

  • 17.3 % in the Townsville region (Qld), including Ayr, Charters Towers, Ingham

  • 16.9% in the Hobart region, including Margate, New Norfolk, Dunalley, Richmond

  • 16.7% in the Perth–North West region, including Joondalup, Yanchep, Wanneroo, Scarborough

  • 16.1% in the Moreton Bay–South region (Queensland), including Samford, Dayboro, Strathpine

  • 16.0% in the Logan–Beaudesert region (Qld), including Beenleigh, Springwood

  • 15.9% in the Western Australia–Wheat Belt region, including Albany, Denmark, Northam, Mount Barker

  • 15.5% in the Melbourne–West region, including Sunshine, St Albans, Footscray, Melton

  • 15.3% in the Barossa–Yorke–Mid North region (SA), including Port Pirie, Nuriootpa, Peterborough

  • 15.0% in the West and North West–Tasmania region, including Devonport, Burnie, Queenstown

  • 14.9% in the Perth – South East region, including Victoria Park, Kalamunda, Armadale, Serpentine

  • 14.7% in the Sunshine Coast region (Qld), including Maroochydore, Maleny, Caloundra, Tewantin

  • 14.6% in the Perth – North East region, including Bayswater, Midland, Mundaring, Ellenbrook

  • 14.3 % in the New England and North West region (NSW), including Armidale, Moree, Tamworth, Tenterfield

The Brotherhood’s chief Ms Lenneberg said the latest “hotspots” revelation smashed stereotypes about young people and called for a more sophisticated public debate about the emerging generation’s challenges.

Ms Lenneberg said: “These figures belie stereotypes about young people. We know from our research and the experience of our services that many young people are doing it tough.”

“Yet young people are too often depicted in simplistic terms of consumers of overpriced smashed-avocado toast with a fascination for selfies, and that’s plain wrong.”

The Brotherhood’s report, Smashing the Avocado Debate, says young Australians are moving into adulthood while the nation is also navigating a period of testing social and economic change due to the interconnected challenges posed by globalisation, technology, climate change and demographic change.

“We remain especially concerned at how young people without qualifications and skills or family networks are tracking in this rapidly changing economic and social environment,” Ms Lenneberg said.

“To secure the future labour force and create opportunities for decent work, we need structural solutions that drill down to local job markets and infrastructure challenges.”

“We also know from our practical experience that all young jobseekers in Australia need to have access to a specialist youth employment service, a one-stop-shop dedicated to their needs, whereas currently we still have a fragmented response to employment services for young people.”

Read the report ‘ Smashing the avocado debate: Australia’s youth unemployment hotspots

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