Under the Napthine government Victoria now holds the unenviable title of the state with the highest youth unemployment rate in mainland Australia.
Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show that Victoria’s youth unemployment is at 20 per cent, but figures are higher in some regional centres in my electorate.
Sadly, these statistics do not come as a surprise to the people of Victoria, who have witnessed the Napthine government’s full frontal assault on opportunities for young people to get the best start in life.
To date, this government has cut more than $1 billion from Victoria’s TAFE system, making it so much harder for young people, particularly in regional Victorians, to access education to help them gain employment.
Along with this the Minister for Employment and Trade, Louise Asher, has now admitted that the Napthine government has reduced the number of traineeships in the Youth Employment Scheme from 450 to 280.
The government has also slashed the amount of funding per traineeship from $4500 to $500.
We have seen Prime Minister Tony Abbott join in the act of his close ally Denis Napthine by slashing tens of billions of dollars from education funding, legislating to increase university fees, defunding important youth diversion programs such as Youth Connections and telling every young person that, even though the government is making it more difficult for them as young people to get a job, if they are unemployed, they will not receive government support until they turn 25.
It is now crystal clear to all Victorians that if you are a young person and there is a Liberal government in power, you are on your own.