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Rural unemployment and government neglect

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Shadow Minister for Primary Industry John Kerin ( 062) 72 7356 ( 02) 602 0330


Record levels of unemployment are not confined to the capital cities.

Over 203,000 Australians outside the state capitals are registered as unemployed.

This represents about 81 of the work force in country Australia - roughly the same rate of unemployment as in the capital cities.

The situation is worst in country NSW and Tasmania, where the unemployment rate is approaching 10%. In Queensland, Victoria and ' South Australia about 7% of the work force in country areas is without a job. In the Northern Territory and Western Australia the

unemployment rate in country areas is around 6%.

This information isn't published by the Government - it has to be derived from data which is not even published until some weeks after the general unemployment statistics are released.

No information is available on unemployment in different country centres. The Department of Employment and Industrial Relations no longer collects this information. The Department of Social Security

has information on the numbers of people collecting unemployment benefits by electorate, but this is released only once a year and is 6 months out of date when released.

This is just one more example of the Government's lack of concern for country people. The Government can not even be bothered to accurately record the results of its restrictive economic policies on the 5\ million Australians who live outside the state capitals.

In many areas of rural Australia, an already tight employment situation has been made worse by the drought. There is absolutely no information available on unemployment in drought affected areas.

It is imperative that the Government does something to reduce unemployment in country areas. However, if its action is to be effective and not just another cynical exercise in 'being seen to be doing something,' then it must know where to focus assistance.

CANBERRA 6 January 1983