Brimbank is in a five-year unemployment funk.
The municipality has the second highest unemployment rate in metropolitan Melbourne, with one in 10 residents out of work.
New figures from the Department of Employment, released on Friday, show Brimbank has a 10.1 per cent rate of unemployment, a figure that has remained steady since 2012. In Melbourne, Brimbank is behind only Greater Dandenong, which has an unemployment rate of 12 per cent.
The figures are a contrast to Victoria’s movement towards lower rates of unemployment.
Last month ANZ bank’s Stateometer Report revealed Victoria was the only state in Australia to record strong economic growth. This was supported by figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics that show Victoria’s unemployment rate fell to 5.7 per cent in January, down from 6.3 per cent in January last year.
Brimbank city development director Stuart Menzies said employment was a “significant” issue for the council.
He said the council fostered job creation and business support though business development programs for new and established businesses, the Brimbank JobLink (an online job hunting and recruitment tool) and programs such as Stepping Stones, a micro-enterprise initiative that offers mentoring, training and support for women from refugee and migrant backgrounds.
But Mr Menzies said unemployment was an issue the council couldn’t tackle alone.
Brimbank also has one of the highest rates of youth unemployment in the state. A Brotherhood of St Lawrence report released last year showed most areas of Brimbank have a youth jobless rate of about 17 per cent.
Outreach worker Les Twentyman said the winding up of the manufacturing industry in Melbourne’s west was fuelling the jobs crisis.
He said a solution was to get young people involved in sport and cultural pursuits, such as acting, art and dance.
“You need to get kids into some sort of program that gives them the skills to structure their lives and build relationships,” he said.
“It could even be teaching them market gardening or car detailing.”