The 2016 census data shows us the income inequality across Australia. The results compare the highest income earners (top 20%) to the lowest income earners (bottom 20%) in any one region.
Nicholas Biddle and Francis Markham from The Conversation explain that “in Australia the weekly household income for the top 20% (A$1,579 per week) is 3.5 times the income of the bottom 20% (A$457).”
Across Victoria, the weekly income for the top 20% is between 2.5 – 2.9 times the income of the bottom 20%, except for in the Melbourne city region where the top income (20%) ranges between 3.4 – 8.9 times the income of the bottom 20%, the highest income inequality rate in the country.
People with higher incomes often have access to better schools, houses, and networks. Local Learning and Employment Networks (LLENs) across Victoria help bridge this gap by presenting opportunities to young people on a local level to keep them engaged with education and training, or by facilitating transition support from school to employment, despite low incomes or lack of education.
THE WAY FORWARD
Biddle and Markham refer to an American example of class based societies and note that if “the spatial segregation of high and low income households reinforces inequality across the generations, then policies that encourage the mixing of different social classes in the same neighbourhood and region should be a way forward.”
LLENs facilitate these types of networks between young people, schools and employers, as well as presenting disengaged young people in our communities with flexible learning options which open pathways to further education or training.
Tackling youth unemployment and income is a complex and multi-faceted issue which may require change amongst several groups across Australia. With census data relating to unemployment being released in October 2017, LLENs look forward to assessing the data, and facilitating changes for young people to succeed in the future.