A COMMUNITY think tank planned next month will aim to tackle the region’s soaring unemployment rates.
South West Local Learning and Employment Network (LLEN) has described the high rate of youth unemployment as a social crisis, the latest figures showing an increase from 14.5 to 18 per cent in three months.
The group, along with Glenelg Southern Grampians LLEN and the Great South Coast Group, hopes to come up with practical ideas to address the issue, as the Brotherhood of St Lawrence predicts the rate could hit 22.5 per cent in the south-west by 2016.
South West LLEN acting CEO Helen Bayne said the employment situation for local 15-24 year-olds was critical and likely to get worse.
“We were bad, now we’re worse and we’re likely to go beyond that Brotherhood of St Lawrence prediction unless something changes,” Mrs Bayne said.
“Sadly, there are no signs that our local economy and jobs market are going to improve in the near future.
“It’s time for the community to come together and do something about it.
“We’ve been a hot spot for youth unemployment for some time. Now the volcano is erupting.
“We’ve been advocating a whole-of-community approach to addressing our region’s low year 12 or equivalent attainment rates and we need to extend that to finding ways to help our young people find jobs.
“When people realise that nearly one in five of your young people can’t find work, I’m sure they will respond and hopefully suggest worthwhile local practical ideas for short and long-term solutions.”
A date and venue for the forum are yet to be confirmed.