Where is the national voice for young people?

Four young people stand in front of a vibrant background.

Contributed by YACVic. Originally appeared on the YACVic blog.

The 2019 federal election comes at a time of tremendous change for young Australians.

The job market is growing more competitive, people are expected to attain higher levels of education than ever before, and globalisation and technologies are transforming our lives.

We are more diverse, and mental health is a topic of rising concern. Meanwhile, Australia is facing the threat of climate change and environmental crisis.

Young people are at the forefront of these issues. Their ideas are vital to our nation’s future.

But all too often, federal politics excludes young people. Australia has no federal youth minister, no federal mechanism for engaging with young people, and no national youth policy framework.

We need a national vision for young Australians, and we need it now.

We call upon all candidates to commit to taking these steps, to give young people a voice in the decisions that affect their country.

  1. Appoint a federal minister for youth. There should be someone in Cabinet driving change to benefit young people and speaking up for young people’s interests right across government.

 

  1. Launch a new mechanism to give young people a direct voice into federal government. A federal youth engagement mechanism would empower young people to become engaged with change, inform government policy, and build their own skills. This new mechanism should engage young people from diverse backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and from rural, regional and remote Australia.

 

  1. Develop a whole-of-government strategy to build the best Australia for young people. This strategy, developed with young people, should address the big issues shaping young people’s lives, including employment, housing affordability, mental health and wellbeing, and civic engagement. It should be informed by current data and research, and developed with young people and the services that support them. There should be adequate resourcing attached to bring about real change.

 

  1. Reinstate funding for National Youth Week. At this annual celebration, young people showcase their talents, celebrate their achievements, express their ideas, attend live events and entertainment, and have fun. Unfortunately, while state governments continue to support Youth Week, federal funding ended in 2017.

 

  1. Fund a national peak body to give young people and youth support professionals a strong, independent voice. The Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC) formed in 2002; it promoted the rights and participation of young Australians, represented young people’s interests to federal government, and worked to build an expert and coordinated youth services sector. Unfortunately, federal funding to AYAC ceased in 2014.

 

With a federal election coming soon, we’re asking: where is the national voice for young people?

YACVic has written to every Victorian candidate in the upcoming federal election, urging them all to support genuine opportunities for young people to engage with federal government, and to have a say in their country’s future.

Please support our call!

First, find your local electorate.

Then, find your local member, and see if other candidates for your electorate have also been announced.

Finally, send them a letter to remind them that meaningful youth engagement is vital to our nation’s future! You can download the letter here.

 

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