New data out today shows that while Tasmanians are slowly returning to jobs after COVID-related job losses, the number of young Tasmanians out of work continues to climb.
Shadow Treasurer David O’Byrne said even with a low participation rate, youth unemployment has exceeded 15%.
“More than 20,000 people lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19,” Mr O’Byrne said.
“Data released today by the ABS shows that some people are now able to return to employment. While that is very pleasing, the data paints a grim picture for young Tasmanians.
“6400 young people – aged 24 or under – have lost their jobs since March, and young Tasmanians account for 70% of all full time job losses.
“We need to look deeper than the headline figures to get a true picture of how hard young people have been hit. In this tough jobs market, 5400 young Tasmanians have simply stopped looking for work.
“The youth unemployment rate is now 15.1%. If the participation rate was at March levels, the rate would be 25.6%.”
Mr O’Byrne said the worrying data means government cannot ignore the need to develop pathways to work for young Tasmanians.
“Labor’s $10 million Free TAFE policy gives the government a ready-made solution to help drive qualifications and employment in a post-pandemic society.
“It would provide free courses in key industries facing skills shortages, and is the key to turning Tasmania’s TAFE system into the engine room of the economy, driving qualifications and employment.
“As well as retraining displaced workers, adopting this policy would allow the government to provide badly-needed pathways for young school leavers and young Tasmanians who’ve lost their jobs.
“We can’t leave our young people behind as we begin the process of recovering from the impact of COVID-19. We need to show them that we have a vision for their future, and that we will help them get there.
“As Labor’s COVID-19 Recovery Package points out, we need to buy local, build local and employ local and, by making TAFE courses more accessible we can make real progress on Tasmania’s recovery.”