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News News Local content and youth unemployment

Barnett Government’s failure on local content reflected in spiralling youth unemployment figures

ABS regional unemployment figures released today show the impact the Barnett Government’s local content failure is having on WA communities with spiralling youth unemployment.

The 12 month average youth unemployment rate up to December 20011 in the South West metro area of Perth is a shocking 27%. This is up from 14.6% in December 2008.


The South West metro area has borne the brunt of the Barnett’s Government’s dismal failure to promote opportunities for local businesses on WA’s major resource projects. Traditionally a manufacturing hub, workshops throughout the South West are struggling to secure work and being forced to take on fewer young trainees and apprentices. Charts below provide similar figures for Perth region, North and metro.

Instead of promoting local businesses, the Barnett Government has stood by as Chinese manufacturers have been given preferential treatment on West Australian resource projects. This includes issuing tenders in Chinese design specifications and encouraging projects to work with Chinese companies.

Under the Barnett Government’s own State Development Agreement with Oakajee Port and Rail, the proponent is encouraged to use Chinese engineers and steel fabricators.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has recently launched an investigation into this and other projects, and asked Mr Barnett to explain the Oakajee agreement, which the Federal Government has also invested funds into.

UnionsWA secretary Simone McGurk has called on the Barnett Government to take urgent action to address the crisis in youth unemployment before a generation of young West Australians miss out on the training and employment opportunities associated with the boom.

“We are now seeing some of the ways in which WA communities are being impacted by the Barnett Government’s failure to secure opportunities for local businesses on our resource projects. How much longer is Mr Barnett going to stand by and watch while WA businesses and WA kids miss out?”

Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union WA Branch Secretary Steve McCartney has demanded the Premier start putting the interests of WA businesses and workers first.

“We have a situation here where our Premier is saying one thing and doing the absolute opposite. He’ll wax lyrical about the opportunities available for local companies and then, behind closed doors, he signs off on agreements that explicitly promote the use of Chinese companies on WA resource projects.

“We’re now seeing the impact of his dodgy deals in these youth unemployment figures and it is absolutely unacceptable. These kids deserve better.”









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