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Tragic unemployment figures underline fundamental weakness of the Australian economy



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DR HARRY EDWARDS HP Member for Berowra ACTING SHADOW TREASURER

TEL 02 476 3675 FAX 02 476 6462

TRAGIC UNEMPLOYMENT FIGURES UNDERLINE FUNDAMENTAL WEAKNESS OF THE AUSTRALIAN ECONOMY

The 11.1 per cent unemployment figure recorded in June shatters the Government's own forecast peak for unemployment of 10.75 per cent, and sets an all time post-war record for unemployment.

The jobless situation is horrendous, what particularly is of great concern is that the 960,000 unemployed embraces a total of more than 300,000 long term unemployed (ie unemployed for more than 12 months) and a further surge in youth unemployment to a national average of 35.8 per cent.

The tragic figure for the long term unemployed is about double the level in the 1980s and is particularly concentrated in males in the 43-54 age group.

These horrendous unemployment figures provide the Australian people with the clearest possible indication that there is a desperate and urgent need for fundamental and wide ranging economic reform to overcome fundamental structural weaknesses in the Australian economy, which the Keating Government does not, or can not, address.

such wide ranging reform is what the Coalition's Fightbackl program is all about.

Certainly there will be no strong recovery without a revival of private capital investment.

In terms of immediacy therefore, the foremost imperative is to fast-track the approval of large development projects - Coronation Hill, Marandoo, a Wesley Vale-type paper mill, and so on - which would be a major boost to confidence and activity in the private sector.

Also imperative is the genuine reform of industrial relations.

The ACTU was talking yesterday of another national wage case for an across- the-board increase in wages - unbelievable in face of these unemployment figures.

The coalition's proposal for a youth training wage is an important part of the answer to the unacceptable level of youth unemployment.

In the last analysis there is no other way to achieve sustainable growth, more jobs - and to contain the vast foreign debt, than the Coalition's Fightbackl package embracing wide ranging structural, tax and labour relations reform.

9 July 1992