Shadow Treasurer and Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt said the Premier must act immediately to address the rising youth unemployment crisis in the Far North.

“Official Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows that youth unemployment in Cairns region is now at 20.5%,” Mr Pitt said.

“This is a crisis that not only affects our economy now, but has dire consequences for the future of our region. “Our kids need more opportunities to work, not more excuses to leave town because there’s no jobs to be had.

“Campbell Newman promised to lower statewide unemployment to 4%, yet currently it’s sitting at 6.1%. “Obviously the situation among our young people in Cairns is far worse than that.

“The Newman Government’s cuts to services and infrastructure are having a direct impact on our local economy.

“The Premier needs to start listening to Queenslanders. What they want is more jobs and services and a stronger economy, not more cuts and more asset sales.”

Mr Pitt said Herron Todd White’s economic analysis showed the Far North’s headline unemployment rate of 8% was barely scratching the surface of the issue.

“For a while now I’ve been highlighting Queensland’s dismal participation rate performance.

“Statewide, the percentage of people actively looking for work has dropped from 66.9% in March 2012 to 65.2% in January 2014.

“Here in the Far North, its 65% down from 67.6% a year ago.

“I agree with the HTW analysis. The fact that people are giving up the chase for a job underlines how bad this Newman Government jobs crisis is.”

Herron Todd White, ‘CairnsWatch’:

“…there is also considerable evidence of people giving up looking for work and not being counted as unemployed, thereby artificially lowering the region’s official unemployment rate.”