Queensland

Ipswich, Sunshine Coast lead charge as youth unemployment rate drops

Ipswich, the Sunshine Coast and southern Brisbane have led the charge in improving youth unemployment rates in Queensland, new data has revealed.

But the Australian Bureau of Statistics data, analysed by Queensland Treasury, also showed the situation in outback Queensland was dire and getting worse.

Youth unemployment dropped 0.9 percentage points from December 2014 to December 2015, from 14.1 to 13.2 per cent.

But in Ipswich, the improvement was more substantial, with a drop of five percentage points, from 18.8 to 13.8 per cent over the period.

Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale said the council's efforts had started to pay off.

"For a city like Ipswich that had the highest unemployment in the country, we've worked our guts out," he said.

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"We've worked our guts out and we've turned the city around.

"We went down the technology path, created logistics industry, we've got what's happening at Springfield and there's much more to come."

The Sunshine Coast saw its youth unemployment rate drop from 14.5 to 9.6 per cent, one of the lowest in the state.

Sunshine Coast mayor Mark Jamieson said the figures would give confidence and encouragement to the region's parents that their children were in one of the areas to get a job.

"One of the greatest gifts any level of government can give its community is confidence," he said.

"With confidence comes opportunity and with opportunity comes prosperity.

"Our population of young Coast residents is not in decline, it's growing, and it's part of our responsibility to help them gain employment here."

Youth unemployment in Brisbane's southern suburbs dropped 5.5 percentage points from 16.4 per cent in December 2014 to 10.9 per cent last month.

The state's lowest youth unemployment rate was in the Maranoa, which had a rate of 7.7 per cent last month, down from 8.9 per cent the previous December.

But outback Queensland youth unemployment skyrocketed, according to the data, from 17.4 per cent in December 2014 to 25.6 per cent last month.

Cr Pisasale said the rest of the country could look to cities such as Ipswich as an example.

"We've let our young people down in this country," he said.

"When I left school, we had apprenticeships and traineeships that aren't there anymore.

"It's a lot harder for young kids to feel part of the community.

"People should stop and have a look at what Ipswich has done, because maybe we're starting to get it right."

Cr Pisasale also made light of the reputation Ipswich had gained throughout Australia.

"Whoever ever said people from Ipswich have two heads, I want to thank them," he said.

"It's made us twice as smart as everybody else."

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