Youth Unemployment

Mr DULUK (Davenport) (15:29): I had a work experience girl in my office a couple of weeks ago—a fantastic young student from Blackwood High School. At the end of the week, I asked her, 'How did you find the week?' She said, 'I thoroughly enjoyed working for you.' I said, 'Would you like to write a bit about your week?' She said she would, and so she penned this open letter to me:

An open letter to Sam Duluk, Member for Davenport.

Dear Mr Duluk,

I am writing to you as a concerned local resident. My name is Harriet and I am 15 years old and currently completing year 10 at Blackwood High School. As a South Australian, I am worried about the direction of our state and my future. South Australia is facing many issues, with one of the most important being the lack of employment opportunities that present themselves to youth. With the youth unemployment rate projected to remain incredibly high in the future, this trend is scary as today's youth are South Australia's and the nation's future. How is this future going to be achieved if our young adults have no employment experience?

Studies show that 58 per cent of employers value work experience over grades. With only a small percentage of youth with work experience, not only are the employers', employees' and businesses' opportunities limited, but so are the state's. This would not be as much of an issue, but with TAFE cutting 500 jobs and campuses closing, crucial experience that can aid youth in seeking employment is being lost. When this announcement was made, the member for Unley said, 'With South Australia suffering under the tightest unemployment rate in the nation, now is not the time to cut training opportunities.' I, and many others, agree.

The inability to work is not only affecting future employment opportunities but also school and other commitment-based opportunities now. With parents already paying bill upon bill and taxes, they cannot afford to send their children on programs, international exchanges or even just school-based excursions that are key for the students' learning.

One key example at Blackwood High School is the World Challenge program that requires participants to fundraise and earn enough money to buy equipment for a trip to a third-world country to provide aid. The program requires the trip to be student-funded and so mere fundraising through cake sales, quiz nights, concerts and other typical means is not enough and the participants must seek employment. How, I ask you, are the participants meant to travel to a third-world country in order to build orphanages, provide farms with irrigation or teach children when they are unable to find the work to fund their trip? They cannot, and student after student drop out of the program due to funding issues.

The World Challenge program is a fantastic opportunity for students as it boosts students' world views and their awareness of poverty and similar global issues. The inability to find work not only deprives students of fantastic opportunities that aid both their education and life now but also far into their and their state's future.

Of even greater concern to me is the lack of sports facilities in my community, especially for females. The lack of facilities is a major obstruction for potential participants and I fear is a central issue in driving many young girls away from social and organised sport. It is not just females who are affected, however, as one local soccer club, Sturt Lions Soccer Club, has members having to train at six different locations across Adelaide, one of which is 12 kilometres away from their supposed 'home ground'.

It is interesting that when, in 2014, the Minister for Recreation and Sport announced that $1 million of funding would be put towards 'paving the way for greater participation in the sport', referring to soccer, that that $1 million was spent in Labor electorates. This funding is compared to the $700,000 spent on the redevelopment of the Adelaide Shores playing fields in order to 'open up more opportunities for South Australian sportsmen and women'. Why is this funding being spent where it is not needed?

An example of great concern is that of the Goodwood football and cricket clubs. The clubs have seen an increase of female players, but lack the facilities to provide changing rooms and other facilities for the female athletes. The clubs have been aware of this and, in fact, the City of Unley endorsed the upgrade in 2014, stating that it would be considered in the budget of 2015-16. When the budget was released, however, the funding was absent and women still lack the change rooms they need.

Mr Duluk, I am concerned about the future for both me and my fellow young South Australians in this state and the issues outlined must be dealt with if we are to protect the state's future.

As I said, that was written by Harriet, a year 10 student at Blackwood High School. Harriet was one of the most incredible young people who have come into my office for work experience. She was 100 per cent on the ball and 100 per cent right.

What really startled me was the research she did about sports funding, that million dollars all spent in Labor electorates. In the lead-up to this state election, and I will be saying more in my budget speech later, the pork-barrelling from this government for years and years and years is an absolute disgrace. It has to be stopped. We need to look at needs-based funding across our community for people like Harriet to have confidence in our system and in South Australia and to ensure that they can have job opportunities well into the future.