The leader of the WA Liberal’s, Liza Harvey believes there is a labour shortage in Western Australia and we need to bring in more workers, What an appalling response from the Liberal Party leader to WA’s unemployment woes

West Australian youth 15 -24 are facing an extremely tough unemployment situation. The Australian Bureau of Statistics official unemployment rate shows an increase to 16.7% for July and the highest rate for 2020. According to the ABS, the official number of young adults unemployed is 36,000 (see Table 1 below).[1]

Add WA youth that have dropped out of the Labour Force since the peak of the coronavirus in March 2020, a potential 53,000 young West Australian’s looking for work in July 2020, and an unemployment rate of 24.7%.

Table 1: Western Australian youth unemployment (15-24 age), official rate and cumulative rate, July 2020.

MonthLabour force total (000’s)Official total unemployed (000’s)Official unemployment rate
 Labour Force loss, (000’s)Official unemployed plus Labour Force loss (000’s)Cumulative rate
March – July 2020 17.050 53.04524.7%

(Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2020.[2])

The WA Labor Party entices the unemployed to work in the regions.

In stark contrast to the Liberal Party leader stating that West Australia has a Labour shortage. The WA Labor Party are making an effort to get local people to work in the WA regions in livestock and agriculture Industries. This is happening all over Australia as a result of the international borders remaining closed to overseas arrivals. In Queensland young Australian’s have been taking up jobs on outback cattle stations, with coronavirus forcing them to study remotely or defer their courses. [3]

We commend the initiative by the McGowan Government for West Aussies to Work and Wander out Yonder WA. They have put up $3 million to help attract unemployed Western Australians to seasonal agricultural jobs across the WA regions. There is also the provision of $3,360 in accommodation rebates for workers that move to the regions.[4]

With youth unemployment climbing and the Federal Government cutting back the Jobseeker payment to $400 per week. There are motivations for West Aussies to work in regional areas. Financial assistance provided by the McGowan Government and the prospect of a much higher weekly income than that offered by Centrelink.


[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘6202.0 – Labour Force, Australia, Jul 2020’ (c=AU; o=Commonwealth of Australia; ou=Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2020) <> [accessed 15 August 2020].

[2] Australian Bureau of Statistics.

[3] Eric Barker, ‘“It Was Just Getting Too Much”: Meet the Uni Students Working on Outback Cattle Stations amid COVID-19’, 2020 <> [accessed 9 September 2020].

[4] Government of Western Australia, ‘Media Statements – Incentives for West Aussies to Work and Wander out Yonder’, 2020 <> [accessed 9 September 2020].

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