Federal Labor Members for Calwell and Wills Maria Vamvakinou and Kelvin Thomson, have today expressed serious apprehensions about the latest unemployment figures for their electorates. The latest Department of Employment report ,Small Area Labour Market Figures for Wills and Calwell are extremely concerning.In Calwell a real catastrophe is unfolding. In the City of Hume, unemployment has increased since June 2013 from 6.9% to 10% in June 2014. In Broadmeadows unemployment has risen since the change of government from 21.9% to be 26.4%. Unemployment in Campbellfield and Coolaroo has risen from 18.8% to be 22.9%, and unemployment in Meadow Heights has risen from 18.6% to also be 22.9%. These are terrible figures. They are a recipe for social disadvantage on a massive scale, with the certainty of crime, drugs, and mental health problems to follow.The figures also show that unemployment in Melbourne’s inner north is now higher in some cases than the unemployment crisis facing Europe.
With unemployment as of January 2014 in Greece at 27.2% and in Spain 24.5%. As of July 2014 unemployment cross the Eurozone area was 11.5%. The unemployment crisis that has swept Europe has now well and truly reached Australia’s shores in Melbourne’s inner north, and on the Liberal Government’s watch.
What is even more concerning is that the Wills and Calwell communities are yet to absorb the full effects of the hollowing out of the local manufacturing base, as a result of the Liberal Government’s decision to abandon manufacturing, particularly through the closure of Ford’s manufacturing plant in Broadmeadows.According to the 2012 Report titled ‘Manufacturing in Melbourne’s North: Now and into the Future’, manufacturing is still the largest regional employer in Melbourne’s north, employing 53,160 workers across the region, followed by Health/Social Assistance 48,791, retail 42,188 and education 33,707 (total jobs in region 382,967).The most strategically important and largest manufacturing industries in Melbourne’s north are automotive (8,696 employees), food (8,514) and chemicals (6,267 employees). The latest Census statistics show 5,911 people who live in Wills are employed in manufacturing, which accounts for 8% of total employment locally. In Calwell there are 9,185 people employed in manufacturing, which accounts for 14% of employment locally.
Unemployment in these areas could continue to rise once the full effect of the Ford manufacturing plant is felt. The National Institute of Economic and Industry Research (NIEIR) in 2012 forecast that the closure of the Ford factory alone would result in 16,000 jobs being lost throughout Victoria after just one year. For the City of Moreland, 600 jobs would be lost after one year and 1,600 jobs lost across the City of Hume. The unemployment situation will be further compounded with the closures of Holden and Toyota.
Manufacturing has been the corner stone of local employment in our region for decades. It is disgraceful that the Liberal Government is allowing it to disappear on their watch without concern for our local communities, local families and our social wellbeing.We call on the Federal Liberal Government to act on this unemployment crisis. The Liberal Government’s decision to cut over $500 million from the Automotive Transformation fund runs the risk of bringing forward the closure of local automotive operations in our communities. These closures are not being met with strategies for alternative employment and re skilling opportunities for our workers. Unless urgent action is taken, our communities will begin to experience greater social isolation and disadvantage. The best way for any Government to ensure peace, prosperity and social cohesion is to give all in the community a chance to gain meaningful employment, which the Liberal Government is not doing.
To view a full copy of the Department of Employment’s Small Area Labour Market Figures please visit: https://employment.gov.au/small-area-labour-markets-publication