GOOD NEWS: Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt says any reduction in the unemployment rate, however small, was good news for the region.
GOOD NEWS: Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt says any reduction in the unemployment rate, however small, was good news for the region.

Wide Bay unemployment rate drops

IN A positive sign for the region, Wide Bay unemployment figures have dropped but the data shows the region's numbers are still too high and the recovery process has a long way to go.

The jobless rate in Wide Bay for the past 12 months sits at 9.1%, down 2.1% on July last year.

That figure is above the state average of 6.2% for the same period and puts Wide Bay fourth on the list nationally behind Townville (9.7%), Mandurah (10.5%) and Queensland Outback (13.7%).

Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said any reduction in the unemployment rate, however small, was good news for the region.

Mr Pitt said the $20 million Wide Bay Burnett Jobs Package was an important step in giving local businesses the confidence to invest and grow, which would create local jobs.

"A big part of the jobs package is getting the community involved and aligning it with state and local government strategic agendas and investment,” he said.

"As part of this process, the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development will be engaging with regions in the coming weeks to listen to and understand what is happening in each region.”

The Wide Bay youth unemployment rate is 21.6%, down 0.2% on July last year but well above the state average at 12.9%.

That puts Wide Bay in fourth spot nationally.

Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson said to continue recovery required all levels of government to work together.

The agriculture and fisheries minister cited the government's $100 million Back to Work program as an example of an initiative designed to give regional businesses the confidence and incentive to take a risk on new ideas and seize new opportunities

"Policies to support small businesses and to encourage them to hire people are vital,” Ms Donaldson said.

State Treasurer Curtis Pitt said it was an encouraging sign that a number of regions across Queensland had recorded a fall in their unemployment rate during the past 12 months.

"We understand that more needs to be done to address the high levels of youth unemployment in parts of regional Queensland,” Mr Pitt said.

"I'm very pleased to see regions like Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton and the Wide Bay have all recorded decreases in youth unemployment but we still have a way to go.”



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