Unemployment has risen to 6.3 per cent. Over 775,000 Australians are out of work. The total number of hours worked in Australia in November actually fell by 0.3 per cent. Youth unemployment is at a 15 year high of 13.8%. In the northwest of Melbourne it is 17.2%, up from 13.1% in 2013.
The Liberal Government would be much more helpful if it cut back our migrant worker programs that are placing unfair competition on local young people, and invested instead in our skills and education sectors. The billions of dollars in cuts by the Liberal Federal and State Governments to our skills, training, TAFE, higher education, secondary and primary education sectors hampers job opportunities for young people. Making young people ineligible for the Newstart Allowance is punitive and will do nothing to tackle the real reasons behind rising unemployment.
Despite the rhetoric that high skilled migration is needed for the mining and agriculture sectors, the reality is a high proportion of migrant workers come to Victoria. The Skilled Migration Program grew from 125,755 places on 2011-12 to 128,973 in 2012-13. In 1995-96 the Skilled Migration Program was just 24,100. The Occupations with the highest number of primary visa grants were professionals (4,656 or 51.1%) and technicians and trade workers (2,416 or 26.5%) in the 457 Visa Class.
As Skilled Migration researcher Bob Birrell has said:
“There are already significant problems with graduate employment in professions such as dentistry, computer science, medicine and engineering.
Liberalisation such that being mooted is going to crash head-on with that situation.”
The Liberal Government should be focusing on how to maximise employment opportunities for our own university graduates and apprentices, and strengthening requirements for employers to advertise jobs locally before recruiting workers from overseas, not making it easier for companies to bypass Australian workers.