YOUNG locals have pleaded for a fair share of the pie after recent figures revealed the Riverina had the lowest unemployment in regional NSW.
The region's unemployment for the 12 months to January was 3.6 per cent, the second lowest figure in NSW behind Sydney’s affluent Eastern Suburbs.
But the glowing endorsement of the local economy was soured by an alarming number of 15 to 24-year-old residents without gainful employment.
Junee man Joe Newman, 21, has been forced to survive on as little as three hours of manual labour per week.
“All I want is a full-time job and I'm willing to work hard - I just want to start paying Mum back for covering the rent,” Mr Newman said.
“Recently I got a call at 3.56am to see if I could work a 4am shift and I said yes because I needed the money.
“Last week I called (the employment agency) to see if there was any work in Wagga or Junee and all they had for the whole week was a three-hour shift moving furniture on Friday afternoon.”
Wagga Business Chamber president Tim Rose welcomed news of the Riverina’s low unemployment rate, but sympathised with young job seekers.
“It’s really good for adults but it’s not good for young people and that’s always been an issue,” Mr Rose said.
“We’ve suffered from the closure of Masters and Dick Smith Electronics in the last few months and they tend to employ younger people.”
Member for Wagga Daryl Maguire said the state government’s record infrastructure spend underpinned the low unemployment rate.