Dr Ken Henry’s comments on the growing policy challenges of Youth Unemployment.
I believe there is a special case for taking an interest in youth unemployment. It is concerning that more than one-third of the unemployed people in Australia are aged 15 to 24.
In the 14 years leading up to the global financial crisis in 2008, youth unemployment had been trending down. It fell from more than 380,000 (seasonally adjusted) in October 1992 to less than 160,000 in August 2008.
Today, the number of those aged 15 to 24 who are unemployed has climbed back to around 260,000. Strikingly, this is more than the total number of people, of all ages, who are employed in the state of Tasmania.
Australia simply cannot afford this level of youth unemployment.
Crippling youth’s capabilities
Dr Henry goes on to say….
Most importantly, unemployment is a powerful source of “capability deprivation”. In essence, what this means is that young people who are not in the education system and who are denied work are deprived of the freedom to lead a life they would choose. They are being denied the capability to participatefully in the activities of their community.
In many cases, young people’s self-respect and dignity is eroded. This is true for all people who are unemployed, of course. But for those who are young, unemployment can have a permanent impact by impeding the development of their talents and potential. These are essential ingredients for Australia’s youth to be able to make good choices throughout life.
I believe these are compelling reasons to tackle the growing problem of youth unemployment in Australia.
Source: These comments first appeared in an article as the foreword to the Brotherhood of St Laurence’s April Youth Unemployment Monitor,published yesterday.
The 64,000 [or is that billion?] dollar question….