Policy Tracker

Throughout the election, we have been tracking the Labor, Liberal, National and Greens parties’ official policy commitments and how they impact young people. With the support of young people and youth advocates, we have called on all parties to make NSW a better place for young people by committing to 10 key changesHere is what each party has committed to doing for young people so far.


Minister for Young People | Mental Health | Young people and care leavers | A safe and affordable home | Education | Post school pathways | Youth unemployment | Make NSW a safe state for young people | Keep young people out of prison | Resource a NSW youth development sector 


Last updated 13 March 2019

1. Minister for Young People

Reintroduce real representation of young people in government, by appointing a Minister for Young People

  • The Greens have pledged to establish a democratically elected Youth Council to provide the opportunity for young people to participate in and influence decision making on issues which affect them.  Greens have made no current commitment to appoint a Minister for Young People.

2. Improve mental health


Improve Mental Health Outcomes for Young People by ensuring young people have appropriate mental health care that is timely, youth-specific and taking steps to prevent youth suicide.

  • The Liberals and Nationals will commit $88 million for 100 additional full-time school counsellors or psychologists, as well as 350 student support officers, to ensure that every public high school will have two dedicated experts providing students with access to vital mental health and wellbeing support

    In addition, NSW Liberals & Nationals have secured $4.2 million to pilot a youth aftercare program targeting young people with an identified risk of suicide or attempted suicide or self-harm that would benefit from assertive psychosocial follow up support.

  • Labor have made no current commitment to Youth Action asks.  

  • The Greens have pledged to improve the coordination of mental health services within schools (Item Education , No. 63.1) and to develop an integrated approach to the needs of children and young families to improve maternal and child health (Item E, No. 96).


3. Protect young people and care leavers

Protect Young People and Care Leavers in NSW
by ensuring young people at risk of harm get better protection and support, investing in prevention and early intervention, raising the age of leaving care to 21, supporting young people leaving care the skills they need to succeed.

  • The Liberals and Nationals have committed $59.1 million over four years to support better safety, permanency and wellbeing outcomes for children, young people and their families, funding 100 additional front-line workers for the child protection system and investment in the open adoption program. 
  • Labor have made no current commitment to Youth Action asks

  • The Greens have promised to increase the leaving care age to 21 to allow young people who need it to receive ongoing support. They have also promised to invest an additional $300 million each year in early intervention services.


4. A safe and affordable home

Enable all Young People to have a Safe and Affordable Place to Call Home
by securing a better deal for young people who are renting, developing a plan to end homelessness and supporting first home buyers.

  • The Liberals and Nationals will invest $61 million over four years to implement a homelessness strategy. They will invest more than $1 billion for  homelessness services over the next four years to support vulnerable people who are experiencing homelessness or in social housing.

  • Labor have committed to reform of negative gearing and halve the capital gains tax discount including: delivering a 25% Affordable Housing mandate on Government-owned land, implementing a 15% Affordable Housing mandate on privately developed land. They have also committed to end unfair no-fault evictions in its first 100 days.

  • The Greens have supported reforms to assist home buyers by phasing out unfair tax rules, ending negative gearing and capital gains tax, however are also working towards alternatives to private home ownership. The Greens will create 300,000 social homes over ten years, to meet the gap in low-cost rental housing.  They have also promised to end unfair 'no grounds' evictions as well as a suite of other rental protection measures and addressing homelessness. 


5. An education system fit for the future

Create an education system that equips young people for their future
by making sure all schools have a support officer, improving the use of suspension to better support young people, and ensuring young people with disability educational equality.

  • The Liberals and Nationals have committed to provide an additional 350 student support officers to ensure that every NSW Public School can access vital support service.

    They have promised that students with disability in NSW public schools will receive more support with a $205 million investment over the next three years.

  • Labor have pledged to hire an additional 150 support education teachers and frontline professional support staff to benefit young people who require more personalised learning and support.

  • The Greens have committed to implement funding consistent with 100% of the Schooling Resource Standard, which includes increasing the number of school counsellors, Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander education support staff and other resources for children with special needs (see Item 15).


6. Excellent and affordable post school pathways

Achieve excellent and affordable post school pathways
by improving school to work transitions through effective career guidance and strengthening access to Vocational Education and Training.

  • The Liberals and Nationals will deliver an additional 100,000 free TAFE and VET courses over the next four years and build a new $80 million state of the art TAFE campus for Western Sydney 
  • Labor will deliver free TAFE for students studying courses with skills shortages, expected to benefit over 600,000 students.  Labor has also pledged to boost the number of career advisors in regional schools by 100 additional advisors 
  • The Greens have promised to make TAFE free, while increasing funding by $200 million over four years, with 100% of vocational funding going to TAFE.

7. Change the story on youth unemployment

Change the Story on Youth U
nemployment by making a youth employment plan in the first 100 days of government, leading the way on best youth employment practice, helping young people who it to get and keep work, making transport free for young jobseekers.

  • The Liberals and Nationals have promised to create 250,000 new jobs in the next four years, however these are not specifically focused on young people.

    They have also committed to prepare a Regional Youth Strategy by mid 2019 and committed to$285.2 million over six years to fund 100,000 fee-free apprenticeships to increase apprenticeship commencements and address skills shortages in areas of significant demand in New South Wales. This will be complemented by the NSW Government initiatives to promote apprenticeships through ensuring 20 per cent of trade roles on government projects are led by apprentices.   

    NSW Liberals & Nationals Government has also launched the Youth Employment Innovation Challenge which offered $10 million to fund innovative solutions and ideas that help young people find employment in NSW.

  • Labor have announced a plan to kick-start the careers of young people in the regions, including boosting the number of career advisors by an extra 100 for regional high schools; establishing a unit of 15 dedicated career advisors to target areas of persistent high youth unemployment; investing a further $100,000 to fund a series of roving career fairs to promote opportunities in regional NSW; and developing online tools to further job opportunities, education and training.

  • The Greens support youth employment training schemes and have promised to extend transport concession fares to young people on low incomes, including young people on age-based rates of pay, apprentices and trainees, full-time university and TAFE students, job seekers and people in Community and Development Employment Projects.


8. Make NSW a safe state for young people

Make NSW a safe state for young people
by making gender-based violence a key priority in NSW secondary schools and ensuring young people with experience of domestic and family violence can access the right support.

9. Keep young people out of prison

Keep young people out of prison and make sure it is safe for young people,
by supporting justice reinvestment via youth and community-led solutions, using the whole range of diversionary options to their full extent, raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility to at least 14 years and implementing immediate changes to make detention, as a last resort, safe for young people. 

  • Liberals and Nationals will increase investment in community legal centres through interest gained from $44 million ‘future fund. No specific mention of young people in current policy commitments. They are running two pilot sites for justice reinvestment, in Bourke and Cowra, and have promised to expand if successful. They will consider the recommendations from a Council of Attorneys General (CAG) working group on minimum age of criminal responsibility.


10. Resource a NSW youth development sector 

Resource a joined-up NSW Youth Development sector to be accessible to all young people
by funding the youth development sector to meet need across the continuum and changing the system to enable services to adapt and respond to local need, including through outcomes frameworks. 

  • Neither the Liberal and Nationals or Labor have made specific commitment to Youth Action’s asks in the lead up to 23 March Election.

  • However, Liberals committed to strengthening the skills and expertise of sector workers, as per 2018-19 NSW Budget.

  •  Labor notes that the youth sector is a priority for fundingfrom all three levels of government, as per the 2017 Labor Platform.
  • The Greens have promised to improve communication and co-operation between existing service providers in the youth sector, support cultural and educational youth servicesand provide funding for local councils or local youth services to develop local youth service directories, which link to a state youth service director available on line.