Unemployment rate at a 10 year high
BRUCE Harms, 52, is a model employee, but he is one of hundreds of people suffering under a 6.9 per cent increase in unemployment rates across the Western Downs.
Federal MP David Littleproud has passed the buck onto local government, telling the Dalby Herald the responsibility to create job opportunities lies with local government.
"Identifying the types of new industries and jobs a community wants and needs should be decided by the local community, not a federal politician,” he said.
"A Federal Government's responsibility is then to put the environment and infrastructure around the community to do that.
Mr Harms has a certificate three in bus and coach driving. He has studied courses in management, CPR, first aid, defensive driving, and is a qualified pilot escort driver.
He used to be in the rural fire brigade and the SES.
But Mr Harms has been searching for a job all year to no avail.
Local government figures have revealed the Western Downs' unemployment rate has increased to 6.9%, the highest it's been in the last 10 years.
Mr Harms is just one local who has struggled to find meaningful employment in the region, resorting to travelling to Brisbane, the Gold Coast, and the Sunshine Coast for job opportunities.
He said the emotional toll of not being able to gain employment has affected him as much as the financial toll.
"It's very hard,” he said.
"My phone is getting cut off in a couple of days because I can't afford to pay my phone bill and then I've got no way of looking for work then.
"It's been hard in every way, with life in general.”
Mr Harms said the root of the issue lies with a lack of opportunity to train upcoming employees, and urged the government to give young starters the chance to gain some experience.
"Pay for people to go and do training somewhere,” Mr Harms said.
"If someone is interested in doing a job, the government should be there backing them up and paying for them to do training alongside someone in a factory so they can gain that employment.”
Mr Harms said he was concerned about the future of the younger generation in the short-term if conditions didn't improve.
"It worries me about what's going to happen, not just in the long-term, but in the next couple of years,” he said.
"The government should be doing more to train people, that's my thoughts. They should be helping people train instead of paying the dole.”