NSW Labor party push for jobs summit in south west Sydney

Centrelink lines were long at the height f the Covid-19 pandemic.
Centrelink lines were long at the height f the Covid-19 pandemic.

Unemployment is on the rise across NSW due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the NSW Labor party wants a plan put in place to help residents find work outside the Sydney CBD.

Labor leader Jodie McKay has called on the premier to hold a jobs summit for the entirety of NSW.

"The treasurer said he wants to hold a crisis conference for retailers in the CBD but where is the jobs plan for whole of NSW," she told members of the press last week.

"Where is the jobs plan that recognises youth unemployment in western Sydney is at 25 per cent? Where is the jobs plan for women leaving workforce?"

Ms McKay said the Labor party had ideas to increase unemployment, such as fast-tracking infrastructure projects like schools and roads.

She said she hoped to work with the government in a bipartisan way to support jobs growth across the state.

"I put forward and invitation for [Premier Gladys Berejiklian] to hold a job summit that recognises the challenges before us are longer than one electoral cycle," Ms McKay said.

"The challenges before us are so great they require us to work together.

"Where are the crisis conferences in rural and regional NSW and for those who are struggling with employment in south west Sydney?"

Recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that more than 13,800 jobs have been lost in the outer south-west area since Covid gripped the state.

The outer south-west area extends from Bargo to Glenfield and includes Camden.

The statistics show that since 7283 jobs were lost and another 6571 people left the workforce since February.

Opposition treasurer Walt Secord said he would provide bipartisan support for "any sensible measure that keeps people in jobs".

"We need to see support go beyond CBD," he said.

"There has been 13,000 jobs lost in Camden alone and of those a lot have simply left the workforce."

Camden MP Peter Sidgreaves told the Advertiser last week that nearly 600 small businesses in the region had received assistance from the state government through the Small Business Support Grants.

"I understand this pandemic is a very tough time for small business owners and their employees, however, I do not think eligibility rules are stopping businesses from accessing small business grants available from the NSW Government," he said.

"I spoke to a large number of small business owners in the Camden electorate who provided overwhelming positive feedback on the NSW Government's business response measures to Covid-19."

Mr Sidgreaves said the response the grants across the state had been mostly positive.

"Of the applicants who chose to leave feedback on the grant process, there was an overwhelmingly positive sentiment about the ease of the process," he said.

"Of the 5500 applicants who chose to leave feedback, over 99 per cent gave the process a thumbs up."