Tell us where the jobs are, Tony Abbott

COMMENT

Finding a job is the ultimate aim of most young people today despite what the federal government has been trying to insinuate as it goes on the campaign to sell the budget.

Living on a Centrelink allowance is not a never-ending party, there's not oodles of cash left after paying the rent, buying groceries and if you're lucky putting 10 bucks of fuel in your car to get to and from uni or a casual job you may have been lucky to score.

And with the new dictate that there will be little or no support for the first six months after leaving school or losing that hard-won casual job, many young people (even those close to their fourth decade of living) will be left not just struggling to make ends meet, but to survive.

Unemployed youth must apply for 40 jobs a month

As a mother of three, two of whom are now teenagers, one of whom has left school already, I know how hard it is to find work in a regional town. Jobs for people with qualifications are hard enough to come by, and for young people with little or no skills, finding even four hours a week of paid employment is a near-impossible task.

The Shoalhaven - and Illawarra - have one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the state, so I know it's not just my own willing workers who are feeling the pain of rejection from employers.

Cybergirl has been fortunate. As soon as she finished her HSC last year she took herself off to Sydney to complete a barista course and get her Responsible Service of Alcohol ticket, although at 17 she was still too young to work anywhere that served alcohol.

She's now also completing a certificate in aged care, covering all bases, to try to ensure she can find enough work to help her save up for university next year. But once she starts, her hours will have to be cut back and with the prospect of no government support to help her through her tertiary studies, the burden will fall on her family to make sure she can reach her potential.

GameBoy, at 15, has had two casual jobs in his short working life, but as a casual employee he was at the whim of employers, who do not always act in the best interest of their employees. He's gained a few necessary skills in customer service, retail, and volunteered his afternoons to try to gain the qualifications he needed to work in the field of sport and leisure. But even with his commitment to getting that experience, he's unable to actually get paid in that industry until he's 17 and has enough money to pay the liability insurance required of its members.

One afternoon a week he makes his way around various businesses in Nowra, handing out his resume, again, to the same businesses, but with little luck. And he's not the only one. There's hundreds of young people doing the same thing and scoring the break has more to do with luck than anything else. Bring in the right place at the right time.

My kids are lucky that my husband and I, at the moment, have the financial means to keep supporting them - especially Cybergirl who now at 18 is trying to live in the adult world on what many would consider pocket money.

But there are thousands of young people, and not so young, who don't have the luxury of family support and who can't find a job with enough stability or work hours to live even the most meagre existence, and by all accounts it will only get worse.

So while it may be OK to say these Draconian measures are designed to get people off welfare and into a job, the jobs firstly need to be there and consequently when young people and families have even less disposable income, businesses will suffer and more jobs will go.

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