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Australia's 'at risk' job loss regions revealed

22 November, 2013

New research released recently identifies the communities across Australia that are the most vulnerable to job losses as a result of the worsening economic conditions in Australia.

A new report entitled "Red alert suburbs: An employment vulnerability index for Australia's major urban regions" is collaborative between researchers at Charles Darwin University's Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE), and Griffith University.

Professor Bill Mitchell, CofFEE director said the research team had updated the Employment Vulnerability Index (EVI), which was originally released in March 2009 with the new ABS statistical area data.

"The model identifies the employment vulnerability by regions," he said.

"The EVI covers all the nation's capitals and major regional cities — some 85 per cent of the total population."

Professor Mitchell said the EVI displayed as a searchable and scalable interactive map with the Red Alert and Amber Alert suburbs as most exposed to potential job losses and least well placed to escape disadvantage associated with increasing unemployment.

"As the economy worsens, communities will face potential job losses, but the EVI shows that many will be more affected than others," he said.

"The report reveals that there are 14.3 per cent of Australian suburbs classified as Red Alert suburbs or those with the highest vulnerability to job loss. Tasmania, Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria have all recorded higher percentages."

Professor Scott Baum, co-author and Griffith University geographer, said that for some of Australia's most disadvantaged suburbs the inevitability of increased levels of unemployment would mean further dislocation of these communities from mainstream economic activities leading to deepening levels of concentrated disadvantage.

He said the report also identified a new arena of socio-economic disadvantage that would emerge as a result of the economic crisis.

"These areas include the mortgage belt areas in the major cities and regions," Professor Baum said.

"They comprise around 46 per cent of the red alert areas, the remainder being those areas that are traditionally considered disadvantaged."

Professor Mitchell said the report concluded that while job losses would be located in some of Australia's most disadvantaged suburbs, other places which had been advantaged by economic prosperity in recent years would also face increasing unemployment risk.

"Some of these suburbs are located in the middle and outer suburban mortgage belts where houses were purchased during the recent housing and economic boom," Professor Mitchell said.

"There is a real danger that as unemployment strikes many of these suburbs they could become hot spots for home repossessions."

The authors of the report argue that the federal government should prioritise the minimisation of job loss and should introduce a job guarantee that would offer a public works job to anyone who wanted one at the minimum wage. This should sit side by side with a National Skills Development framework to address shortages in relevant skills which are producing bottlenecks in some regions.

Professor Mitchell said he encouraged the government to introduce a fiscal stimulus that focused on direct job creation, rather than training people for jobs that were not there.

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Rob | Monday, November 25, 2013, 12:43 PM
Now that the researched facts are out there, Tony & Bill, what are you going to do with/about them?
Hedley | Monday, November 25, 2013, 1:20 PM
Well, imagine this; that after all of the political self-promotion of our circumstances of being the lucky country that here we are facing unemployment. We should also be surprized that the pending problem will actually affect some and not all of the population. I wonder how far down the corridor Professor Mitchell and his committee are from those social engineering types that have led us to this situation? They have led us blindly along the road of increasing our wages and improving our working conditions whilst our competitors have been growing stronger by the day. At the same time our "leaders" have forced "efficiency" onto our manufacturing industries by opening the way for imports. All that this did was send much of industry off-shore and left the rest to become efficient or die. Now we face unemployment as the growing economies arrive in the form of now-wealthy immigrants to buy homes in our better suburbs and drive the first-home buyers almost out of the market. I say it is time to do a study on what these social policies, that started thirty years ago, have actually achieved. Then we can explain why some of our people will be joining the enemployed and why some of their kids will be left behind as their families feel the pain. By the way I do hope that the discussions with Holden and Toyota consider the realities of the real world where the level playing field theory may in reality have been a con job on us. Oh, and in case you are too young to remember, Australia was indeed once a very lucky country.
Mickey | Monday, November 25, 2013, 3:21 PM
Life has taught us that Politicians have all the facts on hand, yet if it does not affect themselves and their perks, they will not do anything about any such assumed level playing field. X-Politicians who become lobbyists for other contries and large corporates and who have been selling Australia off as a past time at around $400,000.00pa plus on top of their pensions and perks, and then telling the Australian public we are on a level playing field, and that we have to become more competitive etc, while eating from both sides of the cake. It's about time Politicians stopped playing around with all Australians, and do something right for the country for ONCE instead of for themselves. The Liberals will regret not helping the CAR Industry when there will 246,000 more people on the unempoyment line hoping to find a job so they can live and pay the bills. Its about time the Australia Public woke up and started looking at themselves and the way in which we think. We are Australian's FIRST and Foremost so Protect all Australians, and start protesting to your local Liberal Member.
Barry | Monday, November 25, 2013, 6:20 PM
Lets try and look at the problems facing Australia objectively. If we restrict land development and thus push up land prices we create a situation encouraging the two income family, neccesary to pay for it all. Add to that the never ending brainwashing via TV that you have got to have it all to be happy, add to that the never ending demands and psychological pressure of the consumer society pushing mothers into the workforce and the consequent pressure to limit family size to enable mother to get back into the workforce; and you lay the foundation for what we are experiencing today. We live in a world of endless materialist demands, plumetting birth rate below replacement rate with the consequences of governments printing money and incurring massive debts for future generations who wont be there because mass contraception and abortion has limited our birth rate to below the 2.1 babies per woman replacement rate necassary just to maintain popuation stability. Governments are printing money to compensate for the shrinking consumer base and kicking the can down the road in the form of bonds to be redeemed by future generations who wont be there, thus we are experiencing increasing inflation only making the situation worse. Our pathetic birth rate of about 1.6 babies per woman means we are getting older with a shrinking wealth producing tax paying base to pay for our growing pension and health care demands. Our birth rate is below replacement; we have been aborting more than 90,000 future citizens every year for the past 40 or more years and we wonder why we have a problem.
Hedley | Tuesday, November 26, 2013, 2:50 PM
Come on Barry; don't head the debate down this path. However I think you and I could agree that some abortions are a desperate option for the less-fortunate who are on seriously bad financial times. Now that is where we need to push the debate. Let us change the economical decision makers direction so that these social issues are not financial ones. That improves when ordinary people have worthwhile employment and a regular income There are plenty of worthwhile jobs and careers in changing this country's misguided Free-Trade policies. If we are to believe Professor Mitchell, our politicians will very soon be ready listeners to new ideas and perhaps any recycled "old" ideas that will bring back jobs. When talking to your local member, perhaps you also mention the poor economics in selling off any infra structure. Government-owned assets, purchased when times were better, have served us well by keeping our living costs down. For example, when we own a highway,our transport industry operates at a lower cost than if it paid tolls on a highway owned by some overseas superannuation group. That lower transport cost flows through to what we all buy in the supermarket and contains costs on our exports for the same reason.
Barry | Tuesday, November 26, 2013, 6:02 PM
Hedley , all abortions are a disaster and a crime. If taking the life of the most innocent and helpless of all human beings is not a crime then I dont know what is. I disagree entirely with all abortion. I sympathise and try not to be judgemental with those who have had abortion, but objectively the taking of innocent human life is an appallimg act. It is why the so called developed world is on a seemingly unstoppable slide into demographic decline. Due to its anti natal policies practically the entire devloped world is below replacement rate. We are heading into a geriatric future. If you want an insight into what is coming have a close look at Japan; that country is headed for geriatric impotence. Beyond its glittering bustling cities with their fairly high youth demographic it is rapidly becoming a wasteland of decaying towns and villages populated by old folks. I have a newspaper cutting from more than a decade ago, describing how beyond its cities the ageing inhabitants of its villages have resorted to scattering life sized dolls of children about to compensate for the children they didn't have and to make themselves feel better. Moral failure has practical consequences and the practical consequences of nearly half a century of anti natal policies are now becoming impossible to ignore. As I've already said governments have avoided facing up to the problem by creating new money and kicking the can of unpayable debt down the road for future generations to worry about; future generations who wont be in sufficient numbers to repay the debt. You obviously didn't read all my post, or ignored the reality that a birth rate below replacement has unstoppable consequences. Why do you think governments are selling infrastructure? They are aware of what's coming and are passing the parcel on to the mug citizen. It wont be fun when the music stops.
Barry | Tuesday, November 26, 2013, 11:43 PM
Hedley if a debate is to be a serious effort to genuinely seek solutions to an emerging problem then all sensible causes and effects should be looked at. Just because the rampant anti natalism of the past forty or more years has been ignored by the dominant opinion makers doesn't mean its not relevant. Collectively we have purposely ignored the rampant anti natalism of the past four or more decades but that doesn't mean it hasn't been happening; it just means the zeitgist, the spirit of the age, has been predominantly self indulgent libertarianism; purposely ignorant of downstream effects of its behaviour. The reality is that Australia's abortion rate has been about 80 or 90,000 per year. The US rate has been about a million per year. These statistics apply to the entire developed world and have been occuring for more than 40 years. Do the maths and that's a lot of future consumers not around to support the economy; many of whom would now be old enough to be in the workforce, who would be married and buying houses, cars and all the necessities of our consumer society. Who would be having children and driving demand for baby and toddler clothes, childrens toys, cots, beds, birthday presents, medical and educational services; the list goes on. As I've already pointed out it also means an increasing imbalance between the shrinking working age wealth producing cohort and the growing older cohort with its increased demands on the nation's medical services. If an action has an immediate unpleasant effect we qickly learn about actions and consequences and stop doing it, but when the consequences are spread over decades the debate is trivialised to a matter of 'personal choice' and critics are told to keep their 'morals' to themselves, and there is no objective debate. It becomes a clash of opinions. Its not an opinion to say its wrong to deny a child its chance at life. Its not an opinion to point out the fact that if one generation purposely destroys a significant portion of the next, there will be very practical demographic and economic consequences. It is just that -- a fact. There is another facet to this debate which could never have been imagined when it began more than forty years ago. While the so called developed West has been purposely culling itself into demographic impotence there is another significant culture that has been doing the very opposite. With a birth rate ranging from about 3.5 per woman to as high as 6 or 7 in some African nations it has a growing youth population. It also is a culture with a 1500 year history of violent antagonism to the 'crusader' nations; and significantly as we decline is becoming increasingly strident in word and action to reverse the defeats inflicted upon it 500 years ago.
Barry | Wednesday, November 27, 2013, 3:53 PM
Indulge me one more time and allow me to suggest that those interested in this debate google Can China and Japan Reverse the Birth Decline? It makes interesting reading.