DIRE WARNING: Human Services Minister Alan Tudge laments that the region has the second highest youth unemployment rate in Queensland.
DIRE WARNING: Human Services Minister Alan Tudge laments that the region has the second highest youth unemployment rate in Queensland. LUKAS COCH

Minister's grim prediction for jobless young people

MORE than half of unemployed young people in Bundaberg will still be on welfare in a decade.

That's the shocking claim from Human Services Minister Alan Tudge, as Bundaberg's youth unemployment sits at 23.6%, and the minister continues to try sell the Cashless Debit Card to the region.

The Hinkler electorate, which includes Bundaberg and Hervey Bay, will have the card rolled out in the region from early next year.

People aged 35 and under on unemployment benefits or parenting payments will be given the card and have 80% of their government payments placed on it.

Mr Tudge said the region had the second highest youth unemployment rate in Queensland with many now experiencing intergenerational welfare dependence.

The government said 90% of under 30s on unemployment benefits in the region had a parent who was also on welfare during the past 15 years.

Mr Tudge and Hinkler MP Keith Pitt have both been vocal that the card, along with other measures, could help break the cycle of welfare dependency within families.

"Our best estimate is that 57% of these young people will still be on welfare in a decade's time," Mr Tudge said.

"This estimate is based on a detailed analysis of past welfare trajectories.

"My hope is that the Cashless Debit Card, along with other initiatives, will see more young people coming off welfare and getting a job."

Opponents of the card say it will marginalise those affected and hinder their future work opportunities.

But Mr Tudge said in previous locations where the card had been in place, it helped motivate people to find work and he expected it to do the same in Bundaberg.

Mr Tudge says other policies that will help get people off welfare and into work include the new compliance system, which comes into place on July 1 next year, which has more serious consequences for failures to search for a job, and the Path program, which creates financial incentives for businesses to take on young people.

"Of course, growing the economy overall so that there are more jobs remains the core focus of the government," he said.


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