Wednesday, 2 September 2020

Have the Nationals failed Toormina youth


Youth at Toormina Skate Park

TOORMINA youth are considered the most disadvantaged and disengaged in the Coffs Harbour LGA. In fact, Toormina youth are regarded as more worse off than 92% of other Australian suburbs.

Coffs Harbour Greens submitted our ideas to Council's 2020 Youth Issues and Options Paper that closed for submissions last week.

It's positive that Council recognise the problems facing youth across the region but the issues facing our young people seem to be a legacy of failed government policies over the long term. 

In 2014, a NSW Parliamentary inquiry found the Mid-North Coast had the second highest rates of child disadvantage in NSW at 21.79% of youth.

In 2017, the Australia Institute found that when unemployment, underemployment and casual employment data was aggregated the regional NSW unemployment rate three times higher than the official percentage which was 8% at the time. 

Coffs Harbour's official unemployment rate currently sits at 11.3% and data for youth unemployment has not been made public but in 2018 it was 23%. 

Nationals Federal MP Patrick Conaghan recently accepted that Coffs Harbour's unemployment rate will reach 15% in the near future on an ABC radio interview.

On top of this, it has been revealed that Conaghan's Youth Taskforce apparently failed to include key representatives from Coffs Harbour's Youth Network (YNet) and Headspace in recent talks. 

Conaghan has also failed to secure a Youth Employment Hub for Coffs Harbour after Morrison promised to roll out 10 post election. 

Also, what happen to his plan for a youth employment summit? 

It's hard to imagine our youth could face such disadvantage in the 'lucky country'.

So, the mind boggles what will happen not only to Toormina's youth but other youth in the Coffs Harbour region under Nationals leadership?

Coffs Harbour Greens believe Council need to plan for our youth strategically and our economic recommendations to Council's Issues Paper include:

  • ·      We support the options identified by council that directly strengthen opportunities for youth in Coffs Harbour such as developing youth entrepreneurship programs; facilitating VET programs and employment readiness programs.
  • ·      We recommend that Council also facilitate a work experience program for unemployed young people from the region.
  • ·      We encourage council to go further in supporting our youth. We believe council need to also look to non-conventional forms of job creation as a matter of urgency to assist youth and stimulate our local economy.   
  • ·      We support the Economic Strategy education and employment opportunities in hospitality, food tourism and agriculture; in the digital economy; creative industries; and self-employment career pathways.
  • ·      We recognise council have not considered other career options that would likely also appeal to younger people and benefit our wider community.   
  • ·      Further consultation with young people is needed to identify these careers of interest and involve young people and local youth services in identifying and planning local solutions to the high unemployment rate.
  • ·      We believe young people often have the answers themselves involving the need for and transition to a sustainable economy.

Coffs Harbour Greens are working hard to create a positive future for our youth across all areas of our lives including the health of our environment, society and economy. 

Join us as we together build a future for us all. 

Stay safe everyone!!!