I seek leave to make a brief statement before asking the Minister for Employment a question about unemployment.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK (14:40): I seek leave to make a brief statement before asking
the Minister for Employment a question about unemployment.
The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: A report released yesterday by the Brotherhood of St Laurence
reveals that youth unemployment is at 13.5 per cent, with underemployment at 18 per cent—the
highest it has been in 40 years. South Australia, unfortunately, takes the mantle of worst in the nation,
with 16.1 per cent of 15 to 24 year olds unemployed. This state lost 8,700 full-time jobs in February,
and statistics show that nearly 156,000 South Australians are either unemployed or underemployed.
My questions to the minister are:
1. Does he find these figures acceptable?
2. What is the government doing to tackle youth unemployment and underemployment,
particularly in parts of Adelaide's north?
3. How is his government proposing to improve these figures?The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy) (14:41): I thank the honourable
member for her questions and her interest in this area. There are a number of measures of
unemployment, most notably the monthly release by the Australian Bureau of Statistics of the
unemployment figures, as well as any number of other reports or statistics that other organisations
release. Any unemployment is of concern to us all. We would like to see as many people who want
to work are afforded the dignity that a job provides them, and I think we all share that sentiment in
The ABS stats show that in South Australia over 80 per cent of young people, as defined by
the ABS as 15 to 24 years old, are either employed or are studying full-time. That is around, in
South Australia, nearly 190,000 young people out of a population of 216,000 that are either employed
or in full-time study, but of course, as I think the honourable member mentioned, the recent
Brotherhood of St Laurence report looked at those who might be employed but are looking for more
I am sure we would all like people who want a job or want more hours to have the best
possible chance to do that. What we are seeing in recent times are reasons for optimism for
employment in South Australia. I know the Liberal Party hates that—they hate that. They will South
Australia to do poorly—that's in their DNA. They want us to do badly. They talk us down; they want
South Australia to do badly. This is the problem—
The Hon. D.W. Ridgway interjecting: