Monday, February 14, 2011

Coalition's youth unemployment plans a threat to public education


Tuesday February 15, 2011
- Socialist candidate for Keira, Paola Harvey, has slammed the Coalition's plans to deal with the region's youth unemployment as inadequate and a threat to public education.

'The so-called youth unemployment forum was really just a photo opportunity for the Liberal party. If they were really interested in discussing youth unemployment, why not invite other candidates to get a variety of views or more importantly, why not invite a wider range of young people who are unemployed? Perhaps they feared that young people would have spoken the truth and told them their plans are a dud', said Harvey.

The two major proposals were increasing the amount of careers advisers in schools and the second was to increase business links to schools.

'The first proposal is inadequate as a solution. The major problem with youth unemployment is that there are not enough jobs available, not that there isn't enough advice. The second proposal is just irresponsible. By increasing “business links with schools”, what the coalition actually means is increasing corporate control over education. This process can only lead to the undermining of public education.

'In the United States, corporate control of education has gone so far that some schools are now owned by large banks such as
JPMorganChase and mega-wealthy individuals such as Bill Gates. We don't need a repeat of that here in NSW. Public education should be run for the public good, not as a subsidiary of big business.

Harvey has instead called for large-scale public investment in the region in order to lower youth unemployment.

'Increasing "business links to schools" won't address youth unemployment, because the fact is the private sector isn't delivering enough jobs for young people. Stronger business links won't make jobs materialise out of thin air. What we need is public investment in the region in order to create jobs and deal with some of the social problems we are facing.

'I'm calling for immediate public investment in socially useful jobs and training including in public transport, housing and renewable energy. Through this public investment, we can begin to deal with youth unemployment and climate change. The Coalition's plan, in contrast, won't create more employment and is a direct attack on our public education system', concluded Harvey.

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