Youth unemployment in the Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven region has again spiked and reached the record level of 29.5% in August, according to Labour Force figures released on Monday by the NSW Parliamentary Library.

Greens MP and South Coast spokesperson Justin Field will host a round table of politicians, council officers, service providers, businesses and young people next month to work to address the youth unemployment in the region. The event will be held on 25 October in Nowra and will identify barriers to youth unemployment and the action needed for addressing the growing jobs crisis.

“The Shoalhaven and Southern Highlands region has the highest level of youth unemployment in NSW, currently nearly 30  per cent. This is more than 2.5 times the state average and has been rising since 2014,” Mr Field said.

“At the recent Budget Estimates hearings, Premier Berejiklian refused to take responsibility for this crisis among local 15-to-24 year olds looking for jobs, and seemed to blame young people for not wanting jobs.

“I know many young people who can’t get work want to work and the Premier seemed not to be aware of some of the structural local issues driving youth unemployment in the region, which is well above comparable regional communities. I’m glad she has agreed to send someone from the Premiers Department to participate in the forum.

“Despite rising and record youth unemployment in the region, the Government has no clear plan for increasing access to training and employment opportunities and many of the Government’s programs supporting employment are not being delivered in the Shoalhaven.

“There  are no silver bullets when it comes to addressing this issue which is why I am inviting stakeholders and decision makers from a wide range of sectors to participate in the forum.

“The Forum will aim to improve our understanding of the structural causes behind our region having such a high rate of youth unemployment, and to share ideas and identify opportunities to begin to address this critical problem,” he said.