The Baird Government must address youth unemployment as a priority in next week’s budget along with housing affordability and public transport infrastructure, the state’s peak union body said. 

Throughout the year Unions NSW has provided the Government with recommendations on a number of key industrial, social and economic issues and next Tuesday’s Budget is a chance to incorporate these recommendations into the future planning of this state. 

With one in eight NSW youths unemployed and apprentice numbers falling, this 2015-2016 Budget must deliver on jobs,” Unions NSW Secretary Mark Lennon said.

Trades based traineeships and apprenticeships dropped by 19.7% in the 12 months from December 2013-2014 while cuts to TAFE has resulted in job losses, cuts to classes and fees skyrocketing putting further education, skills and training out of the reach of many. 

“We are calling on Premier Baird to stop cutting his way through our children’s futures and commit to a one in four apprentice ratio on all large public infrastructure projects as well as an increase in funding to TAFE,” Mr Lennon said.

“Increasing apprenticeships now will put our young unemployed in jobs and ensure that when labour market conditions do pick up, we are well prepared with a trained workforce 

“Unions believe without an immediate and strategic plan to deal with our growing youth unemployment problem we risk facing long-term structural unemployment. 

“The Baird Government needs to invest in the future of the next generation and many more generations to come by introducing mandated levels of apprentices that can be funded and accounted for during the tender process for major infrastructure projects.”

Unions are also calling for Government measures to address the burgeoning housing affordability crisis including: 

  • The allocation of at least 10 percent floor space to affordable housing on all new developments.
  • The introduction of a share home ownership scheme similar to that in Western Australia.
  • Major infrastructure projects to include mandated 10 percent construction of affordable and shared ownership housing in a 2km radius.
  • Consideration of a phase out of stamp duty to be replaced with a broad based land tax.
  • Phase out of first home owners grant with funding redirected to affordable housing.
  • Value capture for new transport infrastructure as an additional source of funding for affordable housing.  

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