Where is the jobs plan for the Central Coast

08 September 2017

Ms McBRIDE (Dobell) (17:21): The former speaker mentioned Wyong. Wyong is my home town, where my family has lived for six generations, and it is really tough. At the moment, youth unemployment on the Central Coast and in my electorate sits at about 16.6 per centthree points above the national average. If we then unpack that further, we see that there is significant underemployment. About 30 per cent of people aged 15 to 24 are also looking for more hours. This is coupled with drastic cuts in apprentices in training and also significant cuts to the local TAFE in Wyong on Porter Street. My brother Eddie was one of the young apprentices who was able to do his training through the TAFE there. In the past it was seen as a really good place for local peopleyoung people, particularlyto be able to get a start and have a career and a good job.

In my community, one in four workers commute outside of the Central Coast each day for work. They spend a minimum of four hours commuting each day. I am also concerned that, in pockets of my community, families are living below the poverty line. In some pockets of my community, families are living on $600 per week. Recently we supported Maybe Baby, an initiative to help those families in need, particularly coming into winter. But I am really concerned that youth unemployment is stubbornly high, sitting at the moment at 16.6 per centthree percentage points about the national averageand that one in four workers in my community are being forced to work outside of the community each day, commuting a minimum of four hours each day just to get to and from their job. Also, regarding wage parity on the Central Coast, a lot of people are forced to commute because the wages are not the same on the coast as they are in Sydney or Newcastle. This is coupled with so many families living in desperate need.

My background is in health and health care. As soon as someone's job is insecure, it has an effect on their health and wellbeing. So many people have spoken to me about the impact of job insecurity on their wellbeing and that of their families. As someone who has spent 20 years working in mental health, I have seen what job insecurity means to people. A lot of people in my community are less than three pays away from defaulting on their mortgage, losing their accommodation and living in desperate need.

My question to the minister is: what is your jobs plan for the Central Coast, what do you have to say to the young people in my community who cannot get a start, who cannot get a local job and who cannot get the training they need to get a start, and to those people who have commuted for 10, 20 and 30 years to Sydney in order to support their families?