Joe Hockey's response to youth jobs question has Cathy McGowan shaking head

Joe Hockey has stunned Cathy McGowan with his response to youth unemployment in regional areas. Picture: FAIRFAX

Joe Hockey has stunned Cathy McGowan with his response to youth unemployment in regional areas. Picture: FAIRFAX

MEMBER for Indi, Cathy McGowan was left shaking her head at Joe Hockey in Federal Parliament yesterday when he responded to her question on youth unemployment.

Mr Hockey’s budget included plans to make those under 30 wait six months before they can sign up for Newstart unemployment benefits.

Those under 25 will instead be put on the Youth Allowance and paid at a lower rate.

Ms McGowan told the Parliament that life for young people in the country was different to that in the city.

“For example, for families in Indi, people earn on average 20 per cent less, there is poor public transport, mobile phone and internet coverage, access to higher education is limited and youth unemployment is 17.5 per cent,” she said

“How have these realities for young people under 30 living in regional and rural Australia been factored into the design to the changes to Newstart and Youth Allowance eligibility?”

To plenty of jeering from the other side of the house, Mr Hockey said her question proved the status quo wasn’t working.

“We need people under the age of 30 to earn or learn,” he said.

He said reducing company tax would stimulate job creation in Indi.

He told Ms McGowan his government was giving $10,000 to businesses that employed someone over the age of 50 who had been on benefits.

She shook her head in response to the comment.

There were loans for sub-bachelor degrees and apprentices.

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