Get this: 49% want work but are underemployed

TACKLING Noosa's underemployment rate, which could be as high as 49% of local teenagers, is one of the shire's major strategic challenges.

That is according to Councillor Sandy Bolton, who briefed a Pomona information night on council's planning strategies to tackle major social and economic issues.

And one of the most pressing was providing better transport for Noosa's young jobseekers, especially in the hinterland.

"In hosting a roundtable on unemployment and underemployment last month, statistics as high as 49% of underemployment (for youths in Noosa) were being discussed," Cr Bolton said.

She said as soon as a person works one hour a week they are classified as employed.

"When you're saying we only have 20% (youth) unemployed - well hang on if you've got another 20% that are only working four or five hours a week, you can't survive on that," she said.

Cr Bolton was addressing Noosa's strategic planning and its preparation of social and economic plans and what is the council's role in job creation.

To help formulate the shire's new economic plan, Cr Bolton has been working with the employment roundtable group to identify the challenges and opportunities, and to extract the exact Noosa jobs figures out of the Sunshine Coast regional data.

She hopes to have accurate figures by this week.

According to the March quarter national figures, the unemployment rate for 15-19-year-olds had climbed to 20% - the highest level since the 1990s.

Cr Bolton said the need for better transport was one of the major issues raised among the 24 employment stakeholders she met with to improve job prospects.

"Access to training and

appropriate courses for our current and emerging sectors, and better government incentives were also seen as prominent issues," she said.

"We know that we have a higher than state average and SEQ regional average of not only unemployment for our youths, but also for our adults, and the employment group is working on this," Cr Bolton said.

One of the major issues identified in the social plan was the need for affordable housing and one of the priorities was the need to know where it should go, whether the Noosa Plan had enough zoned land to accommodate this and what type of housing was needed - units or some other form.

"We have to be careful though, we can't have affordable housing sitting in areas where there isn't access - access to public transport, access to shops and services," Cr Bolton said.

"You need the supporting infrastructure."


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