New figures show regional unemployment the silent crisis that Mike Baird is ignoring

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The NSW Opposition has accused Mike Baird of going missing in the face of regional unemployment rates that have significantly worsened on his Government’s watch.

This is confirmed by today’s release of the ABS monthly regional unemployment statistics for April.

While the Premier likes to claim credit for economic indicators in Sydney, he continues to brazenly ignore and get away with the fact that the unemployment rate is higher than 9 per cent in the Hunter, Illawarra, Southern Highlands-Shoalhaven and Coffs Harbour-Grafton regions.

This compares with a statewide unemployment rate of 6.0 per cent.

The Hunter has lost 6800 jobs over the past 12 months alone; the Central West has lost 5200 jobs over the same period. In the Southern Highlands-Shoalhaven region, 9300 jobs have been lost since the Coalition came to power in March 2011.

ABS Region

Unemployment rate (Apr 15)

Unemployment Rate (Mar 11)


Hunter Valley excl Newcastle

10.1

5.8

Southern Highlands-Shoalhaven

9.6

6.2

Illawarra

9.4

6.1

Coffs Harbour-Grafton

9.3

4.3

Newcastle & Lake Macquarie

8.1

4.9

Central West

7.1

6.4

Richmond-Tweed

6.2

5.1

“Unemployment rates in regional NSW continue to be unacceptably high and the latest jobs data provides more troubling evidence of the two-speed economy across our State,” Shadow Minister for Regional Development David Harris said today.

“Mike Baird likes to talk up his economic prowess – but the persistently high jobless rate in regional NSW is the elephant in the room he refuses to acknowledge

“On this Government’s watch, unemployment is topping 9 or 10 per cent in too many regional communities.

“Families are doing it tough, they’re facing mounting job insecurity – and many are struggling to retrain through TAFE as a result of this Government’s cuts.

“If you’re a family in the Hunter, the Southern Highlands, the Central West or places like Kiama or Grafton, Mike Baird’s Government would be starting to look pretty Sydney-centric and out of touch.”

Mr Harris noted that the Baird Government has abolished Ministerial positions for the Hunter, Illawarra, North Coast, Central Coast and Western NSW – while retaining a Minister for Western Sydney.

“Mike Baird and Gladys Berejiklian don’t have a great record of getting out and about in regional NSW. It’s outrageous the Government has abolished regional Ministers and they need to reinstate them immediately – particularly when those regions are facing double digit unemployment rates,” Mr Harris added.

At the March election, swings in excess of 20 per cent were recorded against Mike Baird’s Government in regional NSW.

The ABS regional unemployment data for April can be accessed here (download table 16): http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/6291.0.55.001