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Monday, 9 February 2015
Page: 211

Dr STONE (Murray) (16:08): I have 25.3 per cent of the 15- to 24-year-old population of Shepparton—the ABS region—out of work. That is over 4,000 young people in Shepparton and nearby who cannot get work, or in reality have given up trying. So I invited the Assistant Minister for Employment, the Hon. Luke Hartsuyker, to my electorate just last week to become better acquainted with this terrible social and economic problem—a problem that is two sides of the one coin. We began the day with a Work for the Dole pilot program where we saw six or seven excellent young men helping to build a new botanical garden. We ended the day with some 20 employer representatives who said that they cannot get good people or any people to respond to job advertisements. They included electrical, dairy, abattoirs, transport operators and representatives from our ethnic council, and Indigenous representatives. We heard them say, 'Individuals who are minorities cannot get work' or 'We have business enterprises that are being stymied and held back because we cannot get skilled, unskilled or even trainee level people to give it a go.'

This is a terrible dilemma. On the one hand, we have significant unemployment; on the other hand, we cannot find the people to do these jobs. We have to look hard at things like drivers licences, our welfare system, our taxation system and our schools and education system. This is too big a tragedy to leave unresolved.