YNOT Submission to Senate Inquiry on Income Inequity in Australia

Date: Mon, 25/08/2014


The Youth Network of Tasmania (YNOT) welcomes this opportunity to provide feedback in relation to ‘The Extent of income inequality in Australia’ inquiry. YNOT believes that the issue of income inequality affects too many people aged 12-25 years. The changes proposed in the 2014-15 Federal Budget have particularly captured the attention of YNOT as the potential impacts for young people are alarming.

Young people bring needed skills and a unique perspective to many workplaces and the vast majority of young people want to participate in stable employment and contribute to their communities. Despite this, many young people face considerable barriers to gaining employment. Research has shown that regardless of young peoples’ experience, capacity, ethnicity, location, aspirations, and needs, they are generally at a disadvantage in the labour market (Greenwood 1996).

Young people are considered to be amongst the most disadvantaged cohorts in our community, many of whom face multiple barriers preventing them from fully participating in the community. Australia's youth unemployment rate has grown to 12.5% since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2008; causing 257,000 young Australians aged 15 to 24 to become unemployed. In February 2014, 425,617 Newstart and Youth Allowance recipients were looking for work, but at the same time there were only 140,800 vacancies, which potentially means there were at least three job applicants for each vacancy (Gilbie 2014). The average length of time it takes to become employed has also increased from 16 weeks in 2008 to 29 weeks in 2014 (Hernandez 2014).

Tasmanian youth are a particularly disadvantaged cohort. Tasmania’s youth unemployment rate ranges from 18.2% to 21%, the highest of any region in Australia. Tasmania ranks at the bottom among Australian states on virtually every measure of economic, social and cultural performance. Tasmanian has the lowest levels of income, education and literacy. Tasmania also has the highest rates of chronic disease, smoking, obesity, teenage pregnancy, petty crime and domestic violence, and the poorest longevity (West 2013). The population within Tasmania is also the oldest in the country and the population is ageing faster than any other state or territory, resulting in less employment opportunities for young people.

YNOT recognises that income inequality is a relevant and concerning issue for many young people within Tasmania and would be keen to participate in any further consultations in relation to this topic.