UNEMPLOYMENT and welfare figures in Balga and Mirrabooka have prompted the City of Stirling to lobby the State and Federal governments for change.
The unemployment rate in Balga and Mirrabooka is 25.1 per cent, disproportionately high when compared with the overall WA rate of 5.9 per cent.
Councillor David Boothman gave a passionate address to council and said the City was well aware of the high unemployment rates in the Balga ward.
“Fifteen years ago, the RAC named Balga the national crime capital of Australia,” he said.
Cr Boothman said State and Federal governments had not helped, with the area often overlooked in transport plans, which was damaging for high numbers of migrant communities.
“There has been no real improvement for these people, even simple things like getting a driver’s licence to get to work,” he said.
“We need to talk to State and Federal Government… they are providing transport out to woop woop but not Balga and the surrounding areas.”
Mirrabooka MLA Janine Freeman said a range of complex, systematic factors contributed to the problem, which warranted more attention from the government.
“The gutting of Tafe, and increased fees make it hard for people with low skills and experience to find suitable courses, and to afford the fees,” she said.
“Given the mining boom is over, there needs to be more attention to increasing diversity of opportunities within the sector.”
Cr David Lagan questioned the motion and said there were already “countless” agencies and government reports into social welfare in the area.
“This lobbying strategy repeats what we are already doing; I don’t believe we need to engage this new strategy,” he said.
Cr Elizabeth Re said Innaloo also had a “major problem with jobs” and she wouldn’t like to see the City single out certain suburbs.
“I’d be concerned if we didn’t look at the City a whole, it is really a State Government issue,” she said.
The motion will see the City investigate ways to engage state, federal and other local governments to address the lack of public transport and proposes to implement programs to help people find meaningful employment.
Opinion, page 7