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The generation the Howard Government forgot.



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Media Release Media Release Media Release Media Release Jenny MacklinMP Jenny MacklinMP Jenny MacklinMP Jenny MacklinMP

Thursday, September 26, 2002

THE GENERATION THE HOWARD GOVERNMENT FORGOT

More than 500,000 young Australians have been abandoned by the Howard Government, left to languish without adequate education, training or full-time work.

A report by the Dusseldorp Skills Forum has found that 15 per cent of teenagers, about 25 per cent of 19-year-olds and about 20 per cent of those aged between 20 and 24 neither have a full-time job nor are in full-time study.

Deputy Labor leader Jenny Macklin said many of these young people were tying to get ahead by cobbling together what work and training they could, but the Howard Government was not lifting a finger to help them.

“The shocking figures in this report are a massive indictment of the Howard Government,” Ms Macklin said.

“The Howard Government has effectively abandoned these young people. It has known about this problem for at least two years but has refused to do anything about it.”

Ms Macklin said government claims about record numbers in New Apprenticeships disguised the fact that the program was failing to give many young people the world-class skills they needed and was doing little to address crippling skills shortages in key industries.

“The Howard Government is obsessed with numbers but Australia needs a training system that doesn’t just churn people through but actually gives them skills they can use.”

Ms Macklin said the report Footprints to the Future, conducted jointly by the Commonwealth and the States and completed almost two years ago, showed the dimensions of the problem. The report found almost 30 per cent of young adults were neither in full-time study nor full-time work, a high proportion were dependent on drugs or alcohol, their suicide rates had increased dramatically and many were involved in crime.

The report found the key to addressing these problems was to help young people move from school to further education or work. Instead, the Howard Government has done nothing.

Deputy Leader of the Opposition Deputy Leader of the Opposition Deputy Leader of the Opposition Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Shadow Minister for Employment, Education, Training & Science

Federal Member for Ja gajaga

Worse, it has ripped more than $150 million out of vocational education and training - one of the areas that could really help these young people. In 2000 TAFE colleges had to turn away more than 40,000 young Australians because they simply didn’t have the money.

“The Howard Government’s neglect is having tragic results. Not only are many young Australians being robbed of their future, the country is losing much of the talent and energy it needs to build and maintain a strong economy,” Ms Macklin said.

The Dusseldorp Skills Forum report can be found at: http://www.dsf.org.au/

More information: Adrian Rollins, 0438 950 375