CCIQ supports LNP plans to tackle youth unemployment
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) says a State Opposition plan to tackle youth unemployment would provide significant incentive for small business to take on younger workers.
The LNP has launched a new ‘Get Queensland Working’ policy, which pledges $100 million over four years to create 20,000 jobs for young Queenslanders. It follows a Palaszczuk Government Budget commitment of $100 million in a “Back to Work Regional Employment” package.
CCIQ Director of Advocacy Nick Behrens said all measures to combat the high rate of youth unemployment in Queensland were welcome.
“Our politicians are getting serious about addressing youth employment through well-measured strategies which address the reluctance of some businesses to take on young, inexperienced staff,” he said.
Under the LNP plan, businesses would receive a $5000 incentive to hire a new apprentice, or $4000 to recruit a young Queenslander who was unemployed and not in full-time education or training.
“We expect the small business community to get behind this scheme,” he said.
“Together with the LNP’s plan for a workers’ compensation rebate after 12 months’ of continuous employment, businesses are being de-risked and given an attractive offer to hire young Queenslanders.
“It comes at a time when our youth unemployment rate stands at 12.8 per cent – double the state average of 6.4 per cent. In some areas, such as Cairns, youth unemployment is as high as 24.1 per cent.
“At the same time, apprentice commencements over the past year have fallen from 8500 per quarter to just 7700 and compares to the five-year average quarterly commencement of 13,300.”
In a recent survey undertaken by CCIQ, 55 per cent of businesses indicated ‘incentive payments and/or wage subsidies’ were a key factor in getting more involved in apprenticeship programs.
“Youth unemployment is particularly high in regional and rural parts of Queensland, where communities are feeling the effects of the mining downturn and persistent drought conditions,” Mr Behrens said.
He welcomed the LNP plan, which included the Queensland apprenticeship boost; tools for tradies ($500 to help 20,000 tradies buy equipment); a job-start incentive; and an employment bonus (rebate scheme) to take on young workers.
Mr Behrens said CCIQ would support all political parties that provided measures and incentives to reduce Queensland’s serious youth unemployment problem.