Back to the future

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  • Published 20160802
  • ISBN: 978-1-925355-53-6
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

TASMANIA’S NORTH-WEST COAST city of Burnie has long suffered high unemployment. In 2015, however, residents were shocked to find that unemployment among young people in Burnie had topped the nation. Twenty-one per cent of young men aged between fifteen and twenty-five were neither employed nor studying. Just under half of all young people did not finish high school, and between 2011 and 2015, the number of Newstart recipients had grown by 40 per cent. Hard hit by the shrinking manufacturing sector, youth unemployment in the region was forecast to swell even further in the years ahead, to 33 per cent. For young Burnie residents, the future looked bleak indeed.

Alarmed by these findings, the leadership of Australian rules football in Tasmania surveyed Burnie AFL players. The AFL wanted to know how many of its players were unemployed and not studying. They feared the worst. With Burnie football players in the bullseye of the most at-risk demographic – men under the age of thirty, some from the lowest socio-economic ranks – football officials were worried about their own.

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