Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Deputy Premier Steven Miles have built an economic recovery plan focused on business owners and industry.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Deputy Premier Steven Miles have built an economic recovery plan focused on business owners and industry.

OPINION: Where are the jobs for young Queenslanders?

WHERE are the jobs?

That's the question young Queenslanders need to ask themselves when they fill out the ballot paper on October 31.

Since it first started impacting Australia in March, the coronavirus pandemic has revealed to us all the fragility of employment for people under the age of 35 in this state.

Young people have been overly represented in the jobs that were first to be impacted - restaurants, cafes, tourism.

The Queensland Government stated ABS payroll data showed the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Cairns have borne the heaviest job losses as international and interstate tourism shut down. Employment in these industries was already dominated by insecure, casual contracts and stagnant wages.

Young people have also been underrepresented in both state and federal policies designed to aid in the economy recovery post-covid.

What couple under 35 has a hope of qualifying for Scott Morrison's ill-thought out $25,000 HomeBuilder grant? How are young jobless parents expected to look for new work after the premature end to free childcare?

The Queensland Government's own economic recovery policies are aimed at business owners and industry, not workers.

You could argue boosting industry leads to better employment prospects for young workers, but it's highly likely they'll be offered the same insecure jobs that existed before coronavirus changed the employment landscape. 

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington
Opposition leader Deb Frecklington hopes to unseat Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk this October.

Even without the effects of coronavirus, young people in work or looking for work were already getting a raw deal.

The average youth unemployment rate across Queensland regions was 15.5% in July 2020. These statistics, released by the Queensland Government's Statistics Office, don't account for the effects of coronavirus and instead are based on a 12-month average. The promise of economic safety has been slipping out of young worker's hands for a long time.

This means that the question young Queenslanders need to ask this election isn't just where are the jobs, but where are the quality jobs? Where is the work that will still be there in a decade? 

A government capable of answering those questions need to take a creative view on what industries this state can build itself on.

Last century that might have meant coal or bauxite. For lots of regional cities it meant manufacturing. We know that is not the answer for the coming century. The state's great manufacturing centres have shed hundreds of workers in the past 10 years alone.

Some shut their doors decades ago. Coal is dying outside of Australia and eventually it will die in Australia. Which government is planning for that?

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