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Homeless people roam the streets and families struggle in the city that was once called an idyllic satellite town

Welcome to Australia’s unemployment capital: homeless people roam the streets, drug addiction is rife and families struggle to survive in the city once touted as a thriving satellite city

  • Residents of Mandurah struggle to survive amid an unemployment crisis
  • The city thrived until the mid-2000s before a slump following the mining collapse
  • Locals said employers are reluctant to hire unskilled workers, leaving many unemployed
  • Officials say the city should take advantage of industries it needs to change

Residents of Mandurah in Western Australia are fighting for survival in the once thriving coastal city amid an escalating employment crisis.

Once touted as Perth’s version of the Gold Coast for Brisbane, Mandurah was one of Australia’s fastest growing cities in the mid-2000s and experienced a boom in the housing sector.

The location has previously been described as an ‘idyllic satellite city’ with prosperous hospitality and tourism.

But the city has been plunged into poverty due to declining jobs and the streets are flooded with homeless people and many families struggling to survive.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that Mandurah’s unemployment rate was 18 percent in July at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Residents of Mandurah in Western Australia (pictured) struggle to survive in unemployment crisis

Residents of Mandurah in Western Australia (pictured) struggle to survive in unemployment crisis

In August, the unemployment rate had fallen, but at 11.3 percent it was still 4.4 percent above the national average.

Nicole Sowerby has worked in the fast food industry for the past two years and recently dropped her weekly hours from 35 to just five.

The 18-year-old said employers wanted to hire young people for cheaper labor, but were reluctant to hire unskilled workers.

“It’s a classic catch 22. You can only get the experience if you have a job, but they don’t give you a job,” she said The Sunday Times.

Mrs. Sowerby feared that many in town would be forced to break the law to make ends meet.

Donna Griffen and her husband Steve Stack have been unemployed in the city for five years and took to the streets to make money.

Locals said employers are reluctant to hire unskilled workers, leading many to turn to welfare or crime. Pictured: Queues at Centrelink on the Gold Coast in March

Locals said employers are reluctant to hire unskilled workers, leading many to turn to welfare or crime. Pictured: Queues at Centrelink on the Gold Coast in March

Locals said employers are reluctant to hire unskilled workers, leading many to turn to welfare or crime. Pictured: Queues at Centrelink on the Gold Coast in March

The 50-year-old former professor at Curtin University said the social decline caused by rampant drug and alcohol issues was adversely affecting the community.

“The drinking, the drugs, we’ve all seen it on the street for the past five years,” she said.

The population in Manduah is expected to continue to grow to nearly double its current 80,000 residents over the next 20 years.

Unemployment rates soared following the collapse of the mining boom, with a large number of fly-in workers contributing to the number.

Andrew McKerrell, general manager of Peel’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said there are important foundations to be laid to change the city’s unemployment rate in the future.

“We need to take advantage of the industries we have that revolve around water and tourism,” he said.

Mandurah (pictured) thrived until the mid-2000s before a slump after the mining boom collapsed

Mandurah (pictured) thrived until the mid-2000s before a slump after the mining boom collapsed

Mandurah (pictured) thrived until the mid-2000s before a slump after the mining boom collapsed

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