Worst unemployment in over a decade

With the release of the worst unemployment figures in over a decade, the question on every Australian’s lips is, when is Tony Abbott going to step up and fight for jobs?

ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver said today’s alarming figures – a sharp increase in the unemployment rate to 6% – must act as a wakeup call to Tony Abbott.

“These are the worst unemployment numbers in over a decade, the highest since July 2003 and indicative of the direction Australia is heading,” Mr Oliver said.

“Every day workers in this country are confronted with more job losses, more jobs going offshore and continued inaction from the Abbott Government.

“We know Australians are struggling with the cost of living and worried about job security but they’re getting cold comfort from a Federal Government that has made clear it won’t stand up for working people.”

Mr Oliver said there were two urgent priorities to protect Australia’s economic prosperity – one is job creation and the other is to avoid a slash and burn Budget with further cuts.

“If the Abbott Government serves up a slash-and-burn Budget in May as promised it will throw more Australians out of work and onto the dole queues,” Mr Oliver said.

“Reduced spending or increased taxes in these conditions will make a bad situation worse.

“Tony Abbott must urgently spell out a plan for job creation and back up his promise of one million new jobs within five years.

Mr Oliver said that there are now 34,900 more unemployed Australians than there were six months ago when Tony Abbott came into office, with the biggest rise in unemployment over the past year in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.

“With the demise of car manufacturing we know things will get worse, particularly in South Australia and Victoria,” Mr Oliver said.

“The Abbott Government goaded Holden into leaving, they did absolutely nothing to keep Toyota in this country and as a result Australia will lose up to 50,000 direct skilled jobs, $21 billion will be wiped from the economy and regions will go into recession.

“The impact from these and other job losses announced since the Abbott Government took office will hurt the economy and see unemployment continue to rise in Australia.”

“Six hundred jobs must be added to the economy every day in order for Mr Abbott to fulfil his election promise to create one million new jobs within five years. That’s looking very unlikely.”

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