According to economic profile data provided by the Department of Jobs and Small Business the Nambucca Shire's overall unemployment rate in 2017 was 5 per cent.
The 2016 Census had it at 9.4 per cent.
Related: Youth umemployment hotspot
While these figures don't breakdown into youth unemployment, they are a major improvement on the late 1990's when our unemployment rate was around 22 per cent and rising.
Regardless whose figure you use we all know that the youth unemployment rate in the Nambucca Valley is unacceptably high and we have young people who are third and fourth generation unemployed.
We need training and mentoring for young people to get them from school to work but we also need jobs at the end of any training which is why Nambucca Shire Council has invested so heavily in Employment Lands and is trying to progress the Valla Urban Growth Area.
I believe that through the development of the existing Macksville and Nambucca Industrial Estates the council can lay claim to a significant influence in the improvement of our unemployment figures but there is a long way to go for the young.
Related: NSW Govt pledges $8 million for VUG
Our local businesses do quite well in the provision of work training and job opportunities in the areas of health care and social assistance, aged care, hospitality, construction and retail but we have to be able to provide a variety of employment opportunities and they have to be local.
Many of our young people are transport disadvantaged and have limited family support networks, making it difficult to travel outside the shire.
The importance of work cannot be underestimated - I think every young person should have that opportunity.
A job gives a young person independence and hope.