Allan Takes Aim Blog

Dump the rhetoric: take the future seriously

Posted on: 18 June 2013

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 Dump the rhetoric: take the future seriously

 Many young and old unemployed people express disbelief when they hear politicians talk about how the policies of their Government will increase jobs which will give them an opportunity of getting work. But when asked by the young unemployed how many jobs will be created and how long to create them, as is usual the politicians’ answers are confusing and short on detail. The result: the young think the job creation story a political fairy tale being used pacify them. Nonetheless the Government worries that the young people’s attitude could be reflected in a loss of votes at the next election.

But what about the older people in the unemployment queue? Many say Government policies put them on the dole not something they ever expected from the current Government. Those unemployed Canberrans in the queue who formerly were employed in the Public Service say they need more than political fairy tales to cure their disappointment.

I confess, too, that I am sceptical about the tales of job creation. The reason for my scepticism is that I have never seen a detailed analysis of where jobs have been created leaving me with the impression that many of the jobs ostensibly created, came when people who had worked for an hour reduced the unemployment statistics.

My scepticism, and that of the unemployed, could be removed by showing where the jobs had been created. Were they in manufacturing, finance, retailing, mining, shipping, tourism? Were they full time, part time or casual? Were they jobs that offered a future, particularly to young people?

In Canberra, the building industry, retail and the public service are the main sources of employment with tourism and IT also prominent. Tourism is often spoken of with reverence by politicians as if it was the holy grail of employment. Unfortunately, pollie talk is really ‘polly’ talk: indeed I know some people in the tourism industry think parrots could talk about tourism better than politicians who seem unaware that 35 per cent of jobs in tourism are only casual or part time, unaware also that probably only 5% of jobs in tourism offer long term career prospects and that promotion generally means moving from place to place. As for Information Technology (IT) despite masses of hype, IT has not turned out to be the proverbial employment gold mine that was once envisaged.

While being unemployed is bad enough, unfortunately it can cause worse problems. In Canberra the number of people being made homeless through being unemployed is growing. While social services do as much as they can to alleviate the problem, it cannot stop a person feeling a loss of dignity or pay the mortgage on a family home or provide the slide into depression and mental illness and other problems such as excessive alcohol use, drug use and domestic violence that often accompany homelessness.

Fine speeches and good intentions will not cure unemployment and in Canberra, employment will only replace unemployment when reality replaces rhetoric. And reality means new industries need to be developed even if they upset some of our self – indulgent citizens. Two suggestions: as the TGA is already here why doesn’t the ACT Government invest in a national medi -park for the manufacture of pharmaceuticals; a light industry park with a complementary programme of incentives to attract small business; and why not a plant to produce manufactured homes that almost certainly will not only become part of Canberra’s housing stock but also cities and towns across Australia.

Comment welcome.

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1 Response to "Dump the rhetoric: take the future seriously"

Thanks, I’ve been searching for facts about this topic for ages and yours is the best I’ve located so far.

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