JOBS AND TRAINING: Labor candidate for Coffs Harbour Tony Judge with Deputy Labor Leader Penny Sharpe at Coffs Harbour Education Campus.
JOBS AND TRAINING: Labor candidate for Coffs Harbour Tony Judge with Deputy Labor Leader Penny Sharpe at Coffs Harbour Education Campus. Janine Watson

Labor's plan to tackle the youth unemployment 'emergency'

WITH figures showing youth unemployment in Coffs Harbour at an alarming 23.3 per cent the #DaleyExpress rolled into town to share their plans for tackling the problem.

On board was Deputy Labor Leader Penny Sharpe and Shadow Minister for Regional Affairs Mick Veitch.

The MPs outlined three main points of their plan including 600,000 free TAFE places in areas of high skill shortage; a local workers and suppliers-first policy for all major government procurement projects and a major boost to the number of career advisors in the regions.

They were joined by Labor candidate for Coffs Harbour Tony Judge who says youth unemployment in the region is not a problem - it's an emergency.

"And it didn't become that way without concerted neglect,” Mr Judge said.

"Unlike the Nationals, Labor is prioritising jobs for young people, not $2.2billion for Sydney stadiums.”

As part of their plan regional high schools will be boosted by an extra 100 career advisors and they will invest a further $100,000 to fund a series of roving career fairs to promote opportunities in regional NSW.

The free TAFE places will be aimed at plugging key skill shortages in the regions, including in construction, electrical trades, child care, aged care and disability care.

The local workers and suppliers-first policy (a legislated Jobs Act) for all major government procurement projects will help keep jobs in NSW instead of outsourcing them to workers and suppliers interstate and overseas.

Ms Sharpe responded to criticism by Nationals candidate for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh that NSW Labor Leader Michael Daley was not on the bus.

"Michael is running his campaign across the state and if that's what the Nationals candidate is concerned about than I would put Michael's hours on the bus up against Scott Morrison's any day and see how they stack up,” Ms Sharpe said.

She says that with youth unemployment in Coffs Harbour higher than anywhere else in the state, and second in the whole of Australia, it is time real action was taken to reduce unemployment and bring jobs and modern training to Coffs Harbour.

"When Labor left office in March 2011, youth unemployment in Coffs Harbour and Grafton was 9.8 per cent, it has now more than doubled to 23.9 per cent,” she said.

"The Nationals have had eight long years to do something about the level of youth unemployment in Coffs Harbour and the surrounding region but instead they have been sitting on their hands.

"Labor will connect young people with jobs, save and rebuild TAFE, legislate for a new Jobs Act and boost access to training through an unprecedented boost in high school career advisors.”