Ms SWANSON (Paterson) (13:42): I'm desperately worried about the young people in my electorate of Paterson. The latest youth unemployment figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics do not bode well for young people in the Hunter region generally. Youth unemployment in the Hunter Valley is now at 15.7 per cent. That's two percentage points more than the national average, and it's likely to get worse as the full impact of COVID-19 bears down upon us.
The electorate of Paterson has lots of fantastic young people, and I'm going to be conducting a virtual town hall with them in the next couple of weeks. They work in hospitality, the arts, retail, tourism either casually or part- time. Many casuals employed in the last 12 months have missed out on JobKeeper, and the industries they work in have been hit hard and will be slow to recover. Young people make up a high proportion of apprentices and trainees in my electorate. Since the coalition government came to power, Newcastle and the Hunter have seen a massive drop in apprenticeships and traineeships—down 27.2 per cent. Let that sink in: that's nearly 30 per cent fewer young people, particularly, getting a chance at getting skills and getting a trade and a job for life. Young people are told to dip into their superannuation. It's not good enough. This government should do better.