Unemployment rates in some Australian suburbs are as high as 32 per cent, five times the national figure, creating pockets of disadvantage and leaving local councils scrambling to create jobs.
Both inner-city suburbs and remote towns feature in the top-10 areas grappling with high unemployment rates, with mayors saying they are struggling to provide jobs amid a decline in manufacturing.
Unemployment figures have skyrocketed in some suburbs in the past year, with Melbourne’s Broadmeadows and Brisbane’s Wacol both experiencing an almost 40 per cent jump in unemployment in 12 months.
Broadmeadows in Melbourne’s north-west has an unemployment figure of 26 per cent, and has been rocked by the steady closure of local manufacturing since the global financial crisis in 2008, including more factory closures in the past year.
The current national unemployment figure is 6.1 per cent.
A source at the local Hume City Council said long-term disadvantage and the closure of the local Ford plant were to blame for unemployment in the area.
“The impact of the pending closure at the Ford plant in Broadmeadows, and the flow-on it has had on other supporting manufacturing industries has also played a part,” they said.
Tasmania’s Brighton Council Mayor Tony Foster says high unemployment has been a problem in the Ravenswood area for generations.
His local government area currently endures a jobless rate of 23 per cent.
“The main thing that is going to turn this around is education but we can’t get kids to go to school any further than Year 7. There’s no thought of them even going to Year 11 or 12,” Cr Foster says.
“It’s a difficult area because there are few places like it in Tasmania. Other parts of the community are really vibrant and have high employment,” he laments.
The highest unemployment figure in Australia belongs to the indigenous community of Palm Island off the coast of Cairns, with unemployment at 49.8 per cent.
Other remote towns such as Halls Creek in the Kimberley and APY Lands in South Australia both face unemployment rates of 42 per cent and 38 per cent, but languishing city suburbs aren’t far behind.
The new data shows suburban areas are not immune from staggering unemployment, as suburbs in Launceston, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide also face some of the highest unemployment rates in the country.
The suburb of Elizabeth in Adelaide has the highest inner-city jobless rate in Australia with 32.4 per cent of locals unemployed.
City of Playford mayor Glenn Docherty warns this will only be made worse by the closure of the local Holden plant.
“We’re trying to get unemployment down across the city but from our point of view we have challenges with Holden closing in 2017,” says Cr Docherty, who is hoping horticulture can lift the area out of unemployment.
“We’re working with local food growers and training providers to secure work in a variety of entry level jobs in the expanding horticultural industry.”
Top five worst suburbs for employment state-by-state
Palm Island – 49.8 per cent
Aurukun – 32.1 per cent
Wacol – 26.3 per cent
Riverview – 23 per cent
Inala – 22.8 per cent
Lethbridge Park, Tregear – 23.2 per cent
Bidwill, Hebersham, Emerton – 22.8 per cent
Ashcroft, Busby, Miller – 21.7 per cent
Walgett – 15.4 per cent
Brewarrina – 14.6 per cent
Broadmeadows – 26.4 per cent
Campbellfield, Coolaroo – 22.9 per cent
Meadow Heights – 22.9 per cent
Dandenong – 20.8 per cent
Doveton – 19.5 per cent
Bridgewater – Gagebrook – 26.4 per cent
Ravenswood – 23.7 per cent
Rokeby – 16 per cent
Risdon Vale – 15.3 per cent
Invermay – 15.0 per cent
APY Lands – 38.8 per cent
Elizabeth – 32.4 per cent
Smithfield – Elizabeth North – 23.6 per cent
Davoren Park – 19.6 per cent
Christie Downs – 19.4 per cent
Halls Creek – 42.7 per cent
Roebuck – 31.1 per cent
Derby – West Kimberley – 20.7 per cent
Mandurah – 15.8 per cent
Balga – Mirrabooka – 15.3 per cent
Yuendumu Anmatjere – 23.7 per cent
Sandover – Plenty – 22.5 per cent
Thamarrurr – 21.6 per cent
Anindilyakwa – 16.1 per cent
Tanami – 15.7 per cent
ACT East – 15 per cent
Reid – 12.1 per cent
Florey – 6.9 per cent
Holt – 6.7 per cent
Belconnen – 6.2 per cent