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Jobless pain on way

Director of Challenge 21 Tom Head is concerned with the latest unemployment statistics and their accelerated decline.
Director of Challenge 21 Tom Head is concerned with the latest unemployment statistics and their accelerated decline. Max Fleet

INDUSTRY insiders are expecting more jobs pain on Thursday when the Australian Bureau of Statistics releases unemployment figures for the region.

Wide Bay-Burnett's unemployment rate for August was 12.3%, up sharply from 10.7% the previous month and on the back of three months of figures higher than 10%.

And Challenge 21 employment agency director Tom Head said he could see no prospect of any significant improvement.

"Nothing has happened to drastically affect employment," he said.

"There are no new projects, no major initiatives in the pipeline."

Mr Head said the region was becoming an employment "wasteland" and he could see nothing on the horizon to make him optimistic.

"We need the local council to get together with the state and national governments and look at initiatives that are going to change the way things are," he said.

"They have to look at a long-term vision."

Mr Head said the unemployment cycle was becoming self generating, as people out of work tried to save rather than spend, meaning retailers were doing it tough and having to lay people off in turn.

One jobseeker, Rodney, who asked that only his first name be used, said it was difficult to get work unless one had high qualifications.

"There's pretty much nothing out there," he said.

Rodney said moving to another city or work on the mines was not an option.

"My kids are here in Bundaberg," he said.

Rodney said he was looking for any labouring work.

Member for Hinkler Paul Neville said the region's upward unemployment trend in recent months had been very disappointing.

"The increasing rate of unemployment in the Wide Bay-Burnett is the cause of some concern to me personally, as well as local jobseekers," he said.

"I have been in touch with the Wide Bay-Burnett Regional Organisation of Councils and I understand there are plans to arrange a local deputation to Canberra.

"There is some lead-up work that will have to be done before any Canberra meetings can take place, and I hope that can be done once Parliamentary sittings have concluded for the year."

Topics:  australian bureau of statistics unemployment


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