Broady jobless reaches 16pc:

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Hume Weekly | By Nick Toscano

12th July 2011

Hume is home to the highest number of welfare recipients in Victoria as the region’s unemployment rate soars above the state and citywide levels.

Broadmeadows’ Centrelink last month had more than 3000 people registered for youth allowance and unemployment benefit Newstart, according to the latest government figures. The number of people receiving Centrelink payments in Hume increased by 0.5 per cent in May compared with a decline of more than 1 per cent in other areas of1VIelbourne’s metropolitan north.

The spike in welfare payments comes as Broadmeadows’ jobless rate jumped to 16 per cent about three times higher than the 5.1 per cent Melbourne average. An above-average unemployment rate of 10 per cent for the whole of Hume has prompted calls for government to invest in skills programs for the area. Calwell MP Maria Vamvakinou attributed the area’s unemployment to the decline of the manufacturing and automotive industries, a high number of newly arrived migrants lacking language skills or recognised qualifications, and low secondary school retention rates.

Broadmeadows MP Frank McGuire said he wanted a bipartisan agreement to provide state funding that could alleviate Hume’s unemployment problem.
“We need to invest in people, skills and education, have a co-ordinated strategy for smart jobs and engage the three tiers of government, business, educational institutions and the philanthropic sector.”

Broadmeadows social services group Spectrum’s advocacy co-ordinator, Hutch Hussein, said the government needed to fund “intensive and innovative” employment support programs for Hume. “There needs to be a real investment for people who may have barriers like mental health problems, unstable accommodation, family breakdown or not speaking English as they’re going to need ongoing support,” she said.

Melanie Raymond, chairwoman of Youth Projects, a welfare and employment agency in Glenroy, called for investment in skills programs for the 53 per cent of Hume’s young people who were unemployed. A spokesman for Higher Education and Skills Minister Peter Hall said an extra $40 million would be spent over the next four years on increasing the number of free training places for people aged over 20.cial-needs school, there are almost no projects,” she said.

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