Western Australia’s unemployment rate has spiked to 6.9 per cent in March – the highest unemployment rate in the nation and the highest in the state in 16 years.
Youth unemployment is the highest in Australia, at 17.1 per cent, and the highest in WA since 1996.
This comes on the back of news that the WA Government is seeking to remove employers’ payroll tax exemptions for upskilling of workers, including apprentices, who earn more than $100,000.
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA has launched a Save Our Skills campaign to fight the proposed change, which is yet to pass the Upper House of State Parliament.
CCIWA’s Chief Economist and Director of Policy and Campaigns, Rick Newnham, says WA’s anti-job policies, such as restrictive retail trading hours, had led to the loss of nearly 8.5 thousand full-time jobs in WA.
“The Government cannot expect low unemployment in WA when it increased payroll tax in its last budget, putting a handbrake on SMEs taking on more employees,” he says.
“And it has walked away from supporting the upskilling of the WA workforce by removing the payroll tax exemption for existing employees.
“The WA economy remains in a fragile state and needs the right policies from the WA Government to recover.”
Newnham says youth unemployment had returned as a major issue in WA and trading hours need to be deregulated.
“We can’t have WA retailers entering the fray of the digital economy with their hands cuffed when the retail sector provides 420,000 jobs for Australian youth each year,” Newnham says.
“CCIWA will continue to advocate for job creating policy and calls on the Government to take notice of these alarm bells by committing to no increases in taxes, fees or charges on business in the upcoming budget.”
Nationally, seasonally adjusted employment increased by 4900 from February to March this year, following a revised decrease of 6300 in January.
The biggest increase in employment was in Victoria (up 26,400), followed by Tasmania (up by 800) and Western Australia (up by 700).
The biggest decrease was in New South Wales (down by 6500), followed by South Australia and Queensland.
► Will changes to the Payroll Tax Exemption impact your business? We need your help to Save Our Skills — visit www.saveourskills.com.au and share your story now.