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June unemployment figures are catastrophic



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NEWS RELEASE JOHN HOWARD, M.P. MEMB ER FOR BENNELONG Sh a d o w m i n i s t e r f o r i n d u s t r i a l

RE LA TIO NS . E M P L O Y M E N T & TR AI NI NG

IRET 48/92

JUNE UNEMPLOYMENT FIGURES ARE CATASTROPHIC

The June unemployment figures published today are no cause for joy. They are catastrophic,

They fill me with a sense of foreboding.

It ie to be hoped they will get no worse.

Australia is registering the worst unemployment rates since the Depression. It has become one of the worst performers in the OECD. '

The adult unemployment rate, seasonally adjusted, is 11.1 per cent. The youth unemployment rate is 35.8 per cent. And the trend estimate, at 10.8 per cent, continues its uninterrupted elide.

The USA is registering 7.5 per cent; the UK, 9.6 per cent; Japan, 2.1 per cent; France, 10 per cent; Italy, 11 per cent; and Germany, 6.5 per cent.

If there was any doubt about the need to increase access to employment for Australia's youth by reducing existing youth minimum wage thresholds, today's figures surely have blown them away.

I totally reject the criticism of the Coalition's minimum youth wage proposal as a proposal for "slave labour".

I throw back into the teeth of those people who have

criticised the lower minimum wage proposal the 35 per cent unemployment rates for youth - 41 per cent in Tasmania, 42 per cent in South Australia, and 44 per cent in Victoria.

And I ask the president of the ACTU, Martin Ferguson: "What rate of youth unemployment are you and the ACTU willing to tolerate before admitting that lower minimum youth wages would reduce unemployment and increase employment?

"Is it 40 per cent, Mr Ferguson? Ts it 50 per cent? Is it

higher than 50 per cent?"

It is not too late for the ACTU and the Government to withdraw their criticism and oppostion to the Coalition's proposal to reduce the minimum youth wages.

The Coalition would applaud them and support, them if they did.

SYDNEY 9 July 1992