Anne Stahl

Call for action on youth unemployment at G20

CIVIL society and business leaders say the "scourge" of youth unemployment must form part of the declaration from G20 leaders at the end of the weekend summit.

As new figures released yesterday showed youth unemployment had reached more than 15% across OECD countries, two groups often at opposing ends of the economic spectrum agreed young people must have jobs to achieve growth for future generations.

National Employment Services Association chief executive Sally Sinclair, who is in the C20 group dedicated to giving civil society organisations a voice at G20, said there were 600 million young people across the globe not in education, training or employment.

"It's neither desirable nor economically sustainable," she said.

"What we'd like the G20 to make some determinations about in its deliberations over the next two days is why don't we have targets on addressing youth unemployment."

The B20 business leader group, which met with G20 leaders overnight, believes its recommendations, if implemented, would easily exceed the 2% G20 growth target and create millions of new jobs.

"There are way too many people around the world who are unemployed and particularly youth unemployment is at crisis level in some countries and is too high in most economies around the world," chairman Richard Goyder, from Wesfarmers, said.

C20 chairman Tim Costello said he feared there had been a contest around the use of the word inclusive in the final declaration expected on Sunday because the word was seen "by some as too left-wing, too bleeding heart and this is an economic focus forum".

But the World Vision Australia chief executive hoped to see that word and climate change make an appearance.

Panellist Dermot O'Gorman, who said the China-US agreement this week was a "gamechanger", said C20 had no doubt climate change was an economic issue.

The WWF-Australia chief executive suggested scientific predictions that warming could surpass the 2C danger mark, could wipe as much as 2% off global GDP growth.

"But ... by ending handouts to fossil fuel subsidies to oil, gas, and coal interests, we could save around two trillion dollars a year which equates to about 2% of global economic growth," he said.

"That would help to reduce CO2 emissions by around 13%.

"That is something the C20 has been consistently calling on to ensure we transition both G20 countries, but also least developed countries, to ensure we're able to deal with the challenges of climate change but also seize the opportunities that a clean economy provides."


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