Pete Faulkner’s post Job Seeker data shows little change for Cairns alerted me to the latest data on recipients of Newstart and Youth Allowance (for young job seekers) from the Commonwealth Department of Social Services. These data highlight the ongoing lack of economic opportunity in Far North Queensland (outside of Cairns and surrounding regions) and North West Queensland, which are home to many remote Indigenous communities (see map below). In the Far North ABS SA3 region, job seekers receiving Newstart or Youth Allowance account for over 12% of the working age population. The Wide Bay-Burnett region also has a relatively high incidence of Newstart and Youth Allowance recipients (at 6-7% of the working age population).
Stark differences in the numbers of Newstart and Youth Allowance recipients exist across Brisbane metro regions. The leafy western suburbs have a very low incidence (at 1-1.5% of the working age population) while the Springwood-Kingston area has around four times the incidence of Newstart and Youth Allowance recipients (over 6%).
The high concentration of disadvantage in particular regions and suburbs should be of serious concern to policy makers. It should prompt them to encourage job creation through lower taxes, better regulation, and a more supportive attitude to economic development. Policy makers also need to ensure Australia does not have a tax-welfare system that discourages employment via high effective marginal tax rates for welfare recipients.