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Businesses welcome morrisons youth employment plan




CRITICISE all you like but according to business leaders Scott Morrison’s youth employment plan is just what they, and young people, need.

Announcing his new jobs offer, the Treasurer said he was addressing problems of both young unemployed Australians and the businesses who wont have them.

By offering 120,000 young job seekers pre-employment skills training, paid work experience placements, and providing businesses incentives to employ those kids after they complete their three-month internships and ween them off the dole, Morrison reckons hes doing everyone a favour.

Australian businesses, especially small businesses, have told me they want to give young people a go, but we need to do more to get young people ready for a job, so businesses dont carry all the risk and cost, he said when he announced the program in last nights Budget.

And its a two-way street. Young people have told me how they need people to get alongside them to help them to develop the confidence, skills, attitudes and behaviours that are expected by employers so they can get a job and stay in a job, because that is what they want.

And if you talk to employers, as Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry director Jenny Lambert does in her position, theyll tell you just what Mr Morrison says theyve told him.

The basket of skills young people with very little if not any experience is tricky for employers, she said.

If theyre unemployed for a long while, their ability to work with others in a team and to fit in a business, even basic things like turning up on time and basically being loyal to the business, these are the issues employers are giving us a lot of feedback on.

Were certainly happy that there is a focus on employability skills.

News.com.au has spoken to employers recently who have been turned off employing young people at all, identifying a non-work ready generation with no skills at all.

As well as making young people more employable, the internship-focused program takes away some risks for businesses looking to expand.

There are so many small businesses out there who would dearly love to take an extra person on, but theyre not sure whether that person will work out and theyre not sure if they invest in a new employee that theyll give them value, Ms Lambert says.

This is about reducing that risk and encouraging particularly small business. If they increase their staff from five to six, or eight to nine, thats a big investment. If they can start the person off in a less risky way, they might be encouraged to think, yes I can serve more customers, or whatever it may be.

Employers participating in the program receive an upfront payment of $1000, while the intern works for them for 15 25 hours per work. The intern is paid $200 each week on top of their Newstart allowance. If the internship ends up leading to employment, the government will subside their wage up to $10,000, saving the employer even more.

While the program encourages employment, there has been some disappointment over the fact that it doesnt create jobs for young people.

Australian Youth Affairs Coalition chair Katie Acheson said the program was a good start but didnt go far enough.

Its great getting young people experience in what its like to have a job, but sadly it doesnt create new jobs, she told ABC radio.

Its much better than work for the dole. But for those in poverty their entire life, six weeks isnt going to be enough to teach you how to speak up in work for example it will need more.

Another argument that has cropped up against the scheme is that during the internship phase of the program, the extra money participants are paid breaks down to about $4 per hour.

Its below the minimum wage, and thats why its not a real job, Ms Acheson says.

But according to Ms Lambert, its a tired argument.

She says while the program isnt perfect it wont be for everybody the program certainly causes very little harm.

This is always the argument about why you had work for the dole at the end of the day the reality here is that young people need experience to get a job, and they get caught in that cycle of not being able to get that experience, she says.

At the end of the day, the worst thing that can happen is the person has three months work experience and received an extra $200 a week on top of their allowance. Theres very little harm here, and theyre closer to being ready to take on that next job.

The program will cost $751.7 million over four years, providing up to 30,000 work experience spots a year.

It comes at the expense of other youth employment programs like Work for the Dole.

Canberra house prices are rising while other markets are steadying


SYDNEY and Melbourne, step aside. There is a new housing market on the block.

Our humble capital city of Canberra is the unlikely housing market where price growth is undergoing a bit of a boom.

Figures from CoreLogic show house prices in Canberra over the 2016 calendar year were up 9.3 per cent the fourth largest annual growth recorded in the country. Speaking about the December results, released earlier this month, CoreLogic Head of Research Tim Lawless commented that strong growth trends have been heading south to more lifestyle markets recently.

Bolstering CoreLogics results are the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) latest property price figures, which show Canberras house prices rose 5.5 per cent in the year ending September 2016. This is more than 1.7 times Sydneys 3.2 per cent annual growth.

But what is it about the small city, home to Australias parliament house, that has homebuyers in a frenzy?

According to CoreLogic analyst Cameron Kusher, job opportunities in our nations capital are attracting more people to the city, and boosting house prices.

The unemployment rate in Canberra is low, Mr Kusher told news.com.au.

Nationally, most employment [growth] has been part-time, but Canberra is seeing good growth in fulltime employment, he said.

The ABS latest labour force statistics show that about 51,000 fewer people are working fulltime nationally, a decrease of 1 per cent, while there are now around 109,000 more people working in part-time roles, an increase of 3 per cent. In Canberra, however, fulltime work has increased by 3 per cent over the past year.

Real Estate Institute of ACT Chief Executive Officer Ron Bell told news.com.au that house price growth in the city has been on the rise for some time because supply is struggling to keep pace with this increasing demand.

Canberras population has been growing year-on-year, Mr Bell said. We simply do not have enough properties to sell.

The ACTs population grew 1.3 per cent in the year ending June 2016, according to the latest population data available from the ABS. This was the fourth largest annual population growth in the country and only narrowly behind New South Wales and Queensland, which both recorded a 1.4 per cent increase in population over the year.

Aside from job opportunities, Mr Bell said Canberras more relaxed, yet still trendy, lifestyle was attracting more people to the city. According to The Canberra Times, 2016 was a booming year for the restaurant and hospitality scene in Canberra, with a new restaurant popping up almost every week.

But Mr Kusher explained to news.com.au that the supply of homes has been struggling to keep up with demand because of different land ownership regulation.

The supply of land in Canberra is very regulated by the government. Land in Canberra is leasehold, he said.

All land in the ACT is leasehold, not freehold, meaning land is owned by the Commonwealth and leased to homeowners on a 99-year Crown lease.

So there is a lot of pent-up demand, Mr Kusher explained.

As a result, Mr Kusher expects Canberra to be one of the few cities to see strong house price growth throughout 2017. He said the nations capital would likely see around nine to 10 per cent annual growth in prices this year.

Mr Bell added that the demand would most likely be for detached housing, rather than apartment or town houses.

Canberras median dwelling price currently sits at $660,000 for detached houses and $425,000 for units.