The ACTU and UnionsWA have commented on the release today by the ABS of unemployment statistics to warn that not enough is being done to transition the WA economy beyond the resources sector.
Dave Oliver, ACTU Secretary, in Perth for meetings with Minister Michaelia Cash, said:
"Month-to-month unemployment figures vary, but the trend over several years is that WA has rising unemployment at rates higher than nationally.
"In January 2013 the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was 4.1%; two years later we are at 5.9%, with 84,700 West Australians now unemployed, affecting not only them but their families and communities.
"A serious concern is that total jobs in WA are stagnant, underlying which is declining full time employment with rises only occurring in part time work. Such increasing underemployment needs to be turned around.
"National unemployment now at 6%, is unacceptable."
Meredith Hammat, Secretary UnionsWA:
“As the resources boom ends the need for action on a jobs plan for WA remains great.
“Now the WA and federal governments remain fixated on cuts to penalty rates and reducing minimum wages – such pay cuts that would depress consumer spending and harm the economy even more.
“Instead of an agenda for real innovation, increasing skills and improving productivity we’re getting television advertisements.
“In WA, while the Barnett Government advertises its inner-city projects, it is increasing TAFE fees as job training enrolments decline.
“During the boom, governments stood by while manufacturing jobs shut down.
“The loss of skilled jobs, declining training and cutting pay will work together to take us down the road of a low-skills low-pay economy that will never be able to compete with developing nation conditions.
“We need to leverage off our strong education and training systems and deploy the resources of a healthy public sector to create skilled jobs.”
Dave Oliver and Meredith Hammat are available for comment.
6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, Jan 2016 is available here.