We have a problem; youth unemployment is over 30%

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Figures just released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicate that Shepparton region which also includes Moira and Campaspe, has suffered the biggest drop in employment in rural and regional Victoria.

Youth workers are the hardest hit. The youth unemployment rate for Shepparton, Moira and Campaspe now stand at 30.7 per cent, the worst youth unemployment rate in the state and almost double the local rate for May, when it stood at 16.7 per cent.

The number of people employed in the Shepparton Statistical Area 4 (SA4) fell by 4,500 over the month to June, was down by 8,200 from February to June, and plunged by 11,000 year-on-year, the ABS figures show.

It is clear that the COVID-19 pandemic is having a detrimental effect on jobs, particularly for young people, in rural Victoria. The impact this will have on the mental health of young people in our communities will be devastating.

But while unemployment is down, certain industries, namely the horticulture industry express concerns about the future and their current heavy reliance on foreign workers here on temporary visas with international travel now being limited.

While fruit picking is hard work, it provides a solution for short term engagement until the economy gets back to where it once was.