Bundaberg Employment Services Queensland site manager Gwilym Lewis says that Bundaberg is still battling with unemployment although figures remain stable.
Bundaberg Employment Services Queensland site manager Gwilym Lewis says that Bundaberg is still battling with unemployment although figures remain stable. Max Fleet BUNJOB

Jobless rate at 10.7%

EMPLOYMENT agencies are not confident about the immediate future, after jobless figures in the Wide Bay-Burnett remained at more than 10.5% for the second month in a row.

Labour force figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics late this week showed the region’s unemployment is holding at the highest point in at least five years.

The figures show that for July, unemployment was 10.7%, or about 13,800 people without a job.

Employment Services Queensland Bundaberg site manager Gwilym Lewis said staff had been seeing more and more people registering with them in recent months.

“It’s getting harder and harder to make ends meet,” he said.

Mr Lewis said some people who had previously found they were able to get by with a part-time job were now lining up for full-time work.

He also believed the January floods were still having an impact.

“Obviously a lot of small businesses are finding it hard to keep people employed,” he said.

Mr Lewis said the high unemployment was across the board, with fewer jobs in all industries.

Challenge 21 director Tom Head said they had been noticing an increase in registrations for about 12 months.

“We are getting very little incentive from governments at all levels,” Mr Head said.

The release of the figures comes the same week the Bundaberg Regional Council was snubbed by the State Government for an employment summit on the Gold Coast.

Bundaberg Mayor Lorraine Pyefinch said the council had recently employed a job skills development officer, using funding available as a part of the flood recovery effort.

She said the high figures also showed that the Wide Bay-Burnett needed to be considered as a whole by the government, rather than focusing on small areas.

Member for Hinkler Paul Neville said the situation could not be allowed to deteriorate any further.

“It is time for the region’s four local government bodies to call a joint meeting of their economic development officers and any consultants they employ, so we can start pulling together some emergency employment strategies,” he said.



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