Opposition’s jobs forum fails to draw a crowd

COMMUNITY groups and businesses at a forum in Broadmeadows last week expressed concerns about the future of jobs in Victoria.

Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews and shadow treasurer Tim Holding invited 240 organisations to the jobs forum at the Hume Global Learning Centre to seek their views and help formulate a jobs plan. Fifty people attended.

Last month, many Hume residents were among the 500 Qantas maintenance and engineering staff losing their jobs.

And many people could lose their jobs because of the state government’s proposed funding cuts to TAFE.

Craigieburn resident Spiro Pastras focused on youth unemployment at the jobs forum.

“I’ve got two boys who are 14 and 17 and I’m concerned about the job losses. We seem to have a lot of people who are losing their jobs,” he said.

“I’m really concerned about the future. Hopefully there will be employment for my boys when they’re older.”

Mr Pastras, who works at Pacific National Rail,

spoke about a need for greater resources at schools to prepare young people for the workforce.”

In July last year, the Weekly reported Hume was home to the highest number of welfare recipients in Victoria as the region’s unemployment rate soared above the state and citywide levels.

Broadmeadows’ Centrelink then had more than 3000 people registered for youth allowance and unemployment benefit Newstart.

Broadmeadows’ jobless rate jumped to 16 per cent – about three times higher than the 5.1 per cent Melbourne average.

Mr Holding, who ran last week’s forum, said it was important to listen to the community and experts.

“Uncertain global conditions and a high dollar are making it harder for Victoria to secure new jobs and protect existing jobs. In tough times it’s more important than ever that our community has a strong plan to secure jobs and investment.”