|SDLP Foyle MLA has said government must do more to tackle the soaring problem of youth unemployment.|
Mr Durkan was speaking after receiving figures from the Social Development Minister that 20,046 young people are receiving Job Seekers Allowance.
SDLP Youth will launch their 'Jobs4aNewGeneration' campaign at Parliament Buildings, Stormont, which aims to identify ways in which more employment opportunities can be created for young people here.
Mr Durkan said: “These figures make for depressing reading and a sure sign that our young people are being failed by government.
"The Programme for Government pledged the creation of over 20,000 jobs over the next four years, but the reality is that they are not being delivered.
"These statistics do not tell the full story; how many young people have left these shores to seek work elsewhere? Sadly our young people have become our chief export. Not only is this depriving society of a generation of talented young workers, but it is separating families and ripping the heart out of communities across the North.
"We believe that there must be a greater focus on job creation and meaningful training programmes. Thousands of young people left formal education last month and we must give them hope that they are not going to become more statistics on the dole queue or on the plane to Australia.
"David Cameron's catastrophic housing benefit proposals, which will remove benefit entitlement for under-25s, will cause further devastation to the lives of our young people and we as an Assembly must stand up for our youth and oppose these reforms."