OUR national unemployment rate has climbed only marginally to 5.4per cent, so say Australian Bureau of Statistics figures?
It was only last July that Labor minister Kate Ellis waltzed into Kurri Kurri claiming that 6400 jobs were on offer at the smelter jobs market, on that day, with 3850 being in the Hunter. My, how a couple of months changes things.
I understand that of the 450 people who were displaced by the closure of the Kurri Kurri smelter, fewer than half have found work and, of those, many of their new jobs are at risk. This doesn’t include the hundreds of contractors that have lost jobs as a result of the closure.
I might add that many of these unfortunate people are not eligible for Centrelink support and are therefore not included in the unemployment statistics. Kurri Kurri is right in the middle of this economic downturn, with local small businesses now starting to feel the pinch and either closing or laying off staff.