DISADVANTAGED young people in the local community will be hit with a trifecta of blows, according to highly respected local Aboriginal leader Gerry Moore.
Mr Moore, the managing director of Habitat Personnel which provides employment services and support to the Indigenous community, fears cuts in the Budget might hit the disadvantaged the hardest.
“We haven’t identified any cuts that will specifically affect us as an organisation or service but I am concerned there will be impacts on some of the clientele we deal with,” he said.
Treasurer Joe Hockey announced unemployed people under 25 will get the youth allowance instead of Newstart and those under 30 will have to wait six months before getting the dole and participate in Work for the Dole.
“There seems to be a trifecta of effects on the disadvantaged and we already have too many disadvantaged young people in the area as it is,” Mr Moore said.
“It is a real rubbery road for young people in regional areas and they are likely to be disadvantaged because youth are now being determined up to age of 30.
“We have people aged up to 30 who are married with kids and unemployed.
“In a community like ours, jobs are already hard to come by and no allowances for up to six months will mean long-term unemployed may have to change locations to get work and that’s going to create its own difficulties.”
He said it would be a major concern if the government went ahead with cutting the subsidy to ethanol producers Manildra at Bomaderry.
“I have a real fear this will affect the local economy,” he said.
“They have been fantastic corporate citizens in the Shoalhaven and have given a lot support and employment to local people.
“If the government withdraws that subsidy immediately it could have a devastating impact.
“If the subsidy was withdrawn slowly it would allow Manildra to plan for it and might lessen the affect overall, which would be a concern for our community.
“From a community point of view it would be disastrous.
“The more people we have got in the jobs market in an area that doesn’t have many jobs has surely got to have an impact.”
There were also cuts of $534 million over the next five years from indigenous programs in the budget which Mr Moore said could impact locally.
The cuts will come from programs administered by the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Health portfolios.
“I have heard there has been a cut to the legal area, which is a big concern and also $3 million in cuts in health service programs across the country,” he said.
“Some of that funding flows into the local Aboriginal Medical Service, where there are a number of young people working in quit-smoking campaigns and if funding dries up that means those young people don’t have jobs.”
Despite what Mr Moore predicts could be tough times ahead, he believes the Shoalhaven community is resilient and will “fight the good fight”.
“This community is resilient and in hard times it knuckles down and fights on,” he said.
“Our recent 30/30 Jobs Campaign that aimed to find jobs for 30 Aboriginal people in 30 days has resulted in at least 20 jobs being created.
“And we still have jobs pending.”