Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says a Jobs Compact with young Australians, agreed by federal, state and territory leaders will provide up to 135,000 young people with higher qualifications. Teenagers must ‘earn or learn’ while jobless under-25s will be guaranteed a training place as the federal government prepares Australia for rising unemployment.
Mr Rudd said the focus of the meeting was on handling the impact of the global recession, in particular equipping young people facing unemployment with new skills. Anyone aged under 17 must be in school, work or training. As part of the compact, COAG committed to increasing the school Year 12 retention level to 90 per cent by 2015, a target brought forward by five years. It also requires people under the age of 20 who do not have a Year 12 certificate to be in education or training before they can receive the Youth Allowance payment. Jobless under-25s will be guaranteed a training place to ensure they have necessary skills for the economic recovery.
Revised forecasts released last week by the International Monetary Fund show unemployment in Australia will rise from its present 5.7 per cent to 7.8 per cent by 2010. Mr Rudd said as part of the job compact the federal government will provide incentive funding for the states for the achievement of the 90 per cent Year 12 retention rate. He said this built on the government’s Education Revolution, which includes a $2 billion commitment to provide over 700,000 extra VET places.