Just how bad a problem the NSW ALP is for Kevin Rudd — and the rest of us — is quantified in today’s unemployment figures. The Premier State is rapidly becoming a vast black hole into which the rest of the Australian economy is being sucked, with unemployment at 6.9%, a full 1.2% above the rest of the country. The unemployment rate grew a full 1% in a month in NSW.

The only comparable performer elsewhere is Western Australia, where unemployment rose 0.8%, albeit off a much lower base, to 4.9%. Elsewhere in the country, the picture isn’t anywhere near as bleak. Victoria only saw a rise of 0.1% and Tasmania actually fell 0.2%, driven by a fall in the participation rate.

Without NSW, national unemployment would today be 5.2%. The rank incompetence of the Labor Government in that state is now exacting a toll in human misery that will continue for years. This is beyond hospital waiting lists or broken-down trains. This is about wasted lives, in the tens of thousands.

This has major implications for next month’s Budget. NSW is the reason unemployment is growing far more quickly than anticipated by Treasury earlier this year. The Budget will have to be framed on the basis that we will be hitting 9% unemployment in the next couple of years.

Unfortunately there’s one thing all the stimulus money and deficit spending in the country won’t buy Kevin Rudd — and that’s a competent government in Macquarie Street.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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