Saturday 2 January 2010

Let's thank Santa for 15% unemployment in Cairns

No surprise that we learn, right at the beginning of the new year, that Cairns tops the country's stats for the most job seekers.
Federal Labour Market and Related Payments statistics for November, shows Cairns has 4,315 residents receiving Newstart and Youth Allowance, the highest in Queensland.
We now have just over 15% unemployment.


Scott Andrews said...

c'mon lets be honest, we only have the Bligh Labor government to thank for this. If they hadn't wasted so much money building endless roads & bridges in SEQ and buying up big for dams that were never going to happen, maybe they would have had a few dollars left over to help us during the worst economic crisis Cairns has ever seen.

swingin' voter said...

Bligh is part of the reason there Scott, hers along with the greedy, over-development mentality of years of Kevin Byrne and some even greedier developers who have now gone bust. He lambasted anyone who accused him of 'unsustainable development'. But look what has happened.....'unsustainable' it certainly was.

Thaddeus said...

"Sustainable"....sigh. There are many who don't understand that word. They want more and more cars, increasing thousands by the year, to pour into the CBD, where they will scream and scream for more parking stations and there will never be enough. Then they want more and more development and dont understand the dangers of "development for development's sake."

Lillian at Yorkeys said...

Surely folks, this is in large part due to the decline in tourism this year as a result of the GFC? & largely putting all the eggs in to one basket? It's been said again & again that the Far North needs other industries/agriculture/projects than simply relying on tourism. Every time tourism has fallen, so has Cairns. Yes, we do have cane farming, & up till recently, NQEA shipbuilding. However, there is need to diversify in to other areas that will hold their own when tourism falls.

Hingehead said...

While I agree that Cairns could do with some economic diversification (even within tourism) let's not get too het up about these stats without knowing some of their background.

For example many local indigenous communities that once had CDEP (kind of like an indigenous work for the dole) no longer have access to it as Cairns is no longer considered 'remote' - so the former participants were moved over to the mainstream Newstart in 2009 and with Yarrabah's (as an example) CDEP participation running at around 90% before the GFC that's about half the four thousand figure.

Then there's the '%15' figure - clearly it is not based on the unemployment assistance figures - otherwise Cairns' labour force is only around 30,000. That figure comes from ABS who base it on phoning 'tens' of households and asking for the occupant's employment status and then extrapolating to a certain formula that is tweaked in the arcane manner of statisticians. I don't believe the tweaks worked well for one period of the survey.

I do think unemployment is higher than average in Cairns but look around, where's the evidence it's a disaster? Try and get a tradie; talk to a Hungry Jacks manager about how hard it is to get staff.

I grew up in western Sydney and I remember the dole queues in the Fraser/Howard years - apart from a couple of guys looking for work on the southern access road for a while the effects aren't that visible.

Sure, we moved out of a period where employers were so pressed that they were employing people with minimal skills and aptitude, and they've now shed them - but how many of you have lost your jobs and can't find work?

Better we focus on upskilling our youth and workforce so we can take advantage of the upturn. Hey, maybe we can even address Cairns' world famous bad reputation for service in the hospitality sector?

Anonymous said...

"Try and get a tradie; talk to a Hungry Jacks manager about how hard it is to get staff.

Plenty of unemployed or under-employed tradies out there, Hingehead and many of the long term self employed tradies are being severely undercut by the ones that used to work for the likes of Hedley's, CMC etc. or by all the unlicensed cowboys out there. That is good for the general public, but it comes to the point where certain jobs are just not worth doing anymore because of the low rates. That in turn stopsgenuine, qualified tradies putting on more staff.

Have a chat to the people dealing with apprentices, and see how many of them lost their jobs in construction...I personally know of many who have lost their jobs.

As for Hungry Jacks and hospitality in general finding it hard to get staff, maybe something to do with pay and conditions ? I know one major hotel in town is working its staff to the bone and refusing to put more on to keep costs down.

"Better we focus on upskilling our youth and workforce so we can take advantage of the upturn. Hey, maybe we can even address Cairns' world famous bad reputation for service in the hospitality sector?"

I totally agree with you on this !

Alison Alloway said...

Hingehead, you are correct. As a former Centrelink employee, I helped oversee the transfer of unemployment benefits to CDEP which was administered by ATSIC. In fact most of ATSICs work and 90%of its funding was administering the CDEP. Thus, the abolition of CDEP has meant unemployed aboriginal people are now fully counted on unemployment statistics.
Added to the unemployment figure is of course the fact that Cairns has ALWAYS had seasonal unemployment, right back to the days of the hand cane cutting.
Cairns is "end of the line" for many of our itinerant workers, who work their way around Australia year after year. I met many of these people while working at Centrelink and in particular when I was in the "Itinerant Work Efforts" position. (Yes, they had a position for it!)

Anonymous said...

I must have imagined it all then. There really is no unemployment in Cairns, except for some blackfellas and itinerants. What a relief !

There definitely is no unemployment at Centrelink in the city. The number of people working there, sitting around chatting and occupying the canteen is staggering...

Alison Alloway said...

Ummm no "Grateful Mac". I have no doubts there is high unemployment, once again, difficult to assess because we have lost a central body like the old C.E.S. which carefully monitored the situation across the region. Privatisation of employment agencies has had its limits, one of which we saw recently. Why was it left to the Federal Government and Federal Government employees at Centrelink to arrange the "Jobs Expo"?? Why didn't the many privatised employment agencies in the region do this as a community service?

Anonymous said...

The state government's response has been to scrap incentive payments for employers to put omn new apprentices.

The Federal government's response has been to discontinue reimbursement of apprentice training fees.

The new fair work Act will not encourage employers to put on new employees, especially since the details are still very vague.

Many unemployment tradespeople have left Cairns and the ones that are left have experience a huge drop in income. Get ready for a new skills shortage and high prices, when things pick up.

In the meantime people can squeeze local trades people for the cheapest price and make sure that they will not put on new apprentices or other staff, because they just can't afford to.

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luigiwrk said...

Good day to you all,
I am well aware aware of the CDEP scraping and the repercussion . I myself worked for the government in remote area.
Presently we are experiencing more than ever a stagnant economy here in cairns ( What a statement) . It's about time that the high unemployment here is taken seriously by our elected parliamentarian. I can assure you, it does not require a JCU degree to postulate that:< it is one the government duties, to ensure that the economy does not sink any further>. I think the government really need to take the situation seriously and instead of wasting money in a new promotional advert or similar enterprises, maybe we should start dissecting and analyse were and if we went wrong. Oprah is most certainly not going to save our economy. the power lies with the Government maybe they are too busy squabbling about construction work, than focus on the real problem.
Never keep all your eggs in one basket, was one of the things we were taught at birth. This wise and simple principle, has not been entirely understood nor applied by our powerbrokers.
The holiday market bubble has imploded, and we are suffering the consequences. With the Australian dollar going up again, it will only further our problems. unless we move forward in creating a vibrant market economy, which offers, amongst other things, value for money, style. Otherwise we will lose out to better, and cheaper holiday destination.

story brandon said...

We are livin in Townsville at present, and not really happy here! Really want to move up 2 Cairns, but have been told by many there is no work at all, is this actually true? I'm a painter an would be looking for work in that field.I'm a family guy an have been told Cairns is awesome for kids?