Justice, Opportunity and Shared Wealth for all South Australians

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SA’s grim unemployment figure needs urgent response

South Australia’s latest unemployment rate shows that our economy is on a trajectory that is making life extremely difficult for anyone out of work or looking to find it – especially work that is secure and of enough substance to provide a reasonable level of income.

Demand on charities and welfare organisations continues to grow – in large part because of the inadequacy of the Newstart Allowance.

Newstart provides income support payments to people who are unemployed while they seek work. But this payment is so inadequate, recipients cannot afford to pay basic bills and keep food on the table.

Latest figures confirm that South Australia's unemployment problem isn't because people who are unemployed are too lazy to look for work. These high rates are here because SA simply doesn't have the jobs available in the economy.

This can’t be left to get worse.  Action must be taken now to address the state of the South Australian economy and the growing number of unemployed people:

  1. The federal government must urgently raise the rate of Newstart by at least $50 per week and ensure people who are unemployed get support to develop and maintain purpose as they wait for opportunities to enter or re-enter the workforce. 
  2. The SA business community should embrace the future with optimism and invest now.  Tax breaks in both federal and state budgets target small business –the backbone of the SA economy.  Workers compensation and electricity costs in SA are dropping.  The cost of capital is at very low levels.  These are the very conditions that should be perfect for business investment and subsequent job creation.
  3. The federal government must support South Australia by ensuring we don’t lose more jobs from our advanced manufacturing sector. It must urgently fund some large infrastructure projects that generate immediate and local jobs growth.  Doing so will reassure small business in the economy that their own investments are well placed.

SACOSS notes that while the headline figures speak to unemployment, hidden below these are much deeper issues of under-employment and growing population groups who are increasingly vulnerable to unemployment. 

Young people already experience much higher rates of unemployment and under-employment  - sometimes double and triple that of headline unemployment rates; while increasingly mature age workers, people with limited and poor skills, people who have a disability, and Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people find it much harder to access full-time secure work opportunities.

For further information/comment, contact:
Ross Womersley - SACOSS Executive Director 0418 805 426

For information/comment on impact on mature-age workers, contact:
Greg Goudie - DOME Executive Director 0400 107 544

For information/comment on impact on young people, contact: 
Anne Bainbridge - YACSA Executive Director 0417 863 089

Published Date: 
Friday, 10 July 2015