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Cuts jeopardise youth employment services

A statewide partnership that helps young people bridge the gap between school and employment will collapse unless the Napthine Government steps in.

DARREN LINTON May 16, 2014 4:23am

Tuesday’s federal budget cut $50million in funding for the Partnership Brokers National Network, ending a commitment to youth employment services.

Shepparton’s Jennifer Hippisley, chairwoman of the Victorian Local Learning and Employment State Network that represents 31 LLEN organisations that deliver the Partnership Broker program in Victoria, said the services would stop this year without federal funding.

‘‘It is now clear the Australian Government has no real plan to help young people transition to a job in a stagnant labour market where youth unemployment is already running above 12 per cent,’’ Ms Hippisley, also the Goulburn Murray LLEN head, said.

‘‘From the end of this year services the network provides such as ensuring young people have access to training and job-ready skills, partnering businesses and young job seekers, and building job and training relationships between local schools and industry will discontinue.’’

Ms Hippisley said 450 community sector workers would be out of a job and a critical employment program would stop, as there were no state or local government plans to pick up the services.

‘‘The loss of the network won’t just be damaging to youth employment outcomes, it stands as a retrograde public policy decision,’’ she said.

‘‘Despite clear commitments on the youth employment and youth participation in Liberal-Nationals pre-election policy, the Coalition Government has broken a promise to young Australians.’’

The Partnership Brokers National Network resulted from a bipartisan federal and state government commitment to help tackle youth unemployment by improving the rate of successful youth transitions from school to employment.

Based on last year’s figures, the cost to the taxpayer for each individual benefiting stands at less than $200.

Local networks are calling on the Victorian Government to provide the $12million needed annually to keep the network operating.

‘‘In the context of the 2014-15 federal budget, we are working with stakeholders to develop transition arrangements to ensure we can continue to support young people through pathways to learning, training and employment,’’ Victorian Education Minister Martin Dixon said.

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