Jobless rate on the rise


Michaela Meade and Oliver Lees

Unemployment is on the rise in Sunbury and the Macedon Ranges as Hume records the highest jobless rate in the state.

National Skills Commission data reveals Sunbury’s jobless figure climbed from 6.6 per cent as of March, 2020, to 7.2 per cent as of March, 2021.

Greenvale-Bulla’s unemployment rate also increased from 6.3 per cent to 7.3 per cent, as of March this year.

Meanwhile the rate in the Macedon Ranges rose from 3.8 per cent to 4.1 per cent as of March this year.

Romsey (5.7), Riddells Creek (4.7) and Gisborne (4.1) recorded the highest unemployment rates in the shire.

Victoria’s overall unemployment rate is 4.8 per cent as of March, 2021.

Hume Whittlesea Local Learning and Employment Network (LLEN) executive officer for Hume Nicky Leitch said Sunbury had been disproportionately affected by the restrictions on transport and infrastructure.

“In our area, Melbourne Airport is a major employer… it was severely impacted last year, and a lot of people lost their jobs,” Ms Leitch said.

“It might explain why [the] Macedon Ranges [unemployment rate] is less than Sunbury – a lot of the demographic in Sunbury were airport staff, cleaners, retail workers at the airport – then the airport shuts down, and those people just lost their jobs.

“It’s important to highlight these disadvantages… Despite our best efforts, COVID has really had an impact.”

Hume had the highest unemployment rate in Victoria, increasing from 8.7 per cent as of March, 2020, to 13.4 per cent as of March, 2021.

The areas of Meadow Heights (26.5), Broadmeadows (24.4) and Campbellfield-Coolaroo (24.3) recorded the three highest unemployment rates in the state as of March this year.

Hume council planning and development director Michael Sharp said the city’s unemployment rate has been an “ongoing concern… for well over a decade”.

But Ms Leitch said it was “not all doom and gloom”.

“It’s important to highlight the disadvantages, but to also highlight that there is hope,” she said.

“There is amazing growth happening in Hume as well, some really large companies are coming to Hume in the next four years.

“We [LLEN] just have to work hard to make sure our local people are equipped to compete for those jobs.”