The Shoalhaven community is today taking their concerns about the youth unemployment crisis straight to Parliament after new research revealed their region is one of the worst “hotspots” in the country.

Youth unemployment in the Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven region including Nowra, Mittagong and Ulladulla is currently sitting at 18.4% well above the national average of 12% and three times the rate of overall unemployment in Australia. It is the third worst performing region in the state.

Local union and community group, Unions Shoalhaven, will tackle local MP Ann Sudmalis on what she is doing about it and how the government plans to bring employment to the area following a spate of factory closures leaving hundreds jobless and the increased use and exploitation of 457 visa workers ahead of local Australians.

“The current Liberal Government and local MP Ann Sudmalis are doing nothing to address unemployment in particular youth unemployment which is impacting heavily on families and the community,” Unions Shoalhaven Chairman Tim Montgomery said.

“Nearly 100 jobs were lost when the Paper Mill closed, and another 100 will go when Pentair closes its doors in April. The government has introduced measures to ease the pressure on the Illawarra so where is the vision for the Shoalhaven?

Tim said he plans on calling out Local MP Ann Sudmalis on her recent boasts about how many local people have been placed in jobs across the electorate.

“This doesn't have anything to do with unemployment rates which are only going to get higher unless some kind of strategy is put in place. We want to see some positive action from our politicians about what they’re going to do to bring more jobs to the area.

 “And cuts to our penalty rates is far from the solution,” Mr Mongomery said. “Ours is a rural and isolated community. Any cut to the take home pay of local workers will hit the whole economy and community hard. We are already struggling enough, we simply could not afford that.”

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