The NSW for Young People Beyond 2019 Report was developed as a call to action in the lead up to Australia's 2019 Federal Election.
NSW can be a place where all young people are valued, engaged and supported. Right now, while many young people in NSW are doing well, there are many more who consistently do not get the support they need, or who do not have opportunity to reach their full potential.
The NSW Government can choose to make NSW the best possible place for young people, particularly those who experience intersectional and compounding disadvantage and exclusion.
Youth Action is calling on all parties to make NSW a better place for young people and to:
- Reintroduce real representation of young people in government
- Improve mental health outcomes for young people
- Protect young people and care leavers in NSW to grow up healthily, happily and safely
- Enable all young people to have a safe and affordable place to call home
- Create an education system that equips young people for their future
- Achieve excellent and affordable post school pathways
- Change the story on youth unemployment
- Make NSW a safe state for young people
- Keep young people out of prison and make sure it is safe for young people
- Resource a joined-up NSW Youth Development sector to be accessible to all young people
Do you believe NSW can be a better place for young people? Ask NSW parties to make change for young people.
Contact your candidate
The more of us who speak up, the more important the issue becomes.
10 FUNDAMENTAL CHANGES
Reintroduce real representation of young people in parliament
There is no Minister for Young People in Cabinet to represent the specific needs of young people across portfolios. Renewing this portfolio is pivotal to changing the story for young people and to ensure that young people are part of central government decision making mechanisms. All parties must commit to a Minister for Young People with a corresponding portfolio.
Improve mental health outcomes for young people
Young people should live happy, healthy and fulfilled lives that give them a strong foundation for their mental wellbeing. However, young people are particularly at risk of poor mental health and, at the moment, we are not responding quickly or effectively enough.
Protect young people and care leavers in NSW to grow up healthily, happily and safely
All young people the right to be safe and to receive loving care and support. Young people also have a right to receive the services they need to enable them to succeed in life.
However, in NSW the number of children and young people entering care is increasing, which places more pressure on the system. In particular, the numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people entering care have increased and continue to be significantly overrepresented in the care population. And young people who leave care have significantly poor outcomes.
Enable all young people to have a safe and affordable place to call home
Every young person in NSW should have an affordable and secure place to call home. Housing impacts on all aspects of a young person’s life such as health and wellbeing, access to education and skill development, and work opportunities.
For young people in NSW, high rental costs, low incomes, insecure share housing, and the lack of affordable housing and social housing stock all make having a place to live a challenge. While some young people are staying at home for longer, others don’t have the option.
Create an education system that equips young people for their future
Young people in NSW should enjoy full access to affordable and quality education that meets their current needs and prepares them for the future. This means moving beyond a ‘bricks and mortar’ approach to school investment, and ensuring all young people are engaged and supported to learn.
It’s clear that young people need additional support to stay engaged in school, and we need to make sure that those who need the most support aren’t excluded from education entirely. Transitions from school are a challenging time, and its vital that pathways from school to higher education training or work are excellent, affordable and the right fit for the future.
Achieve excellent and affordable post school pathways
Post-secondary education (PSE) is a vital pathway to attain higher-skilled jobs, increased wages and longer-term employment after exiting the school education system. Young people are involved in PSE by studying in vocational education and training, university or undertaking an apprenticeship or traineeship.
Due to the significant social, developmental and economic benefits of participating in post-secondary education, barriers that prevent young people from engagement must be addressed. Accessibility, affordability and a lack of comprehensive information about their options are just some of the barriers that impact and prevent young people from gaining access to post-secondary education. Young people experiencing disadvantage due to financial, situational, educational or locational factors can find it particularly hard to enter higher educational institutions, making further education and training a less viable option. However, if the education system addresses these barriers adequately, post-secondary education can become increasingly accessible to a diverse range of young people.
Change the story on youth unemployment
Clear pathways into sustained employment are necessary for young people to attain financial security, independence, wellbeing, a sense of belonging and skill development. All young people should be able to access meaningful, long-term employment so they can contribute to the Australian economy and community.
However, youth unemployment rates have remained stagnant, underemployment is increasing and finding work is increasingly difficult for all young people.
Make NSW a safe state for young people
Young people should have every opportunity to be safe, and to have secure and healthy relationships. Right now, prevalence of violence against women is highest for young women. Services are not funded to give support to young people and as a result, young people are falling through the gap. Negative attitudes about relationships and gender are linked to domestic violence, and young people provide the one of the best opportunities to break the cycle and effect large scale change, but investment in this area is lacking.
Keep young people out of prison and make sure it is safe for young people
Young people should not come into contact with the youth justice system, but when they do, they should only be detained as a last resort, and detention should be safe for them.
More can be done to address the root causes of contact with the justice system in NSW, to intervene early, and to utislise diversion to its full extent. A review of the youth justice system has found the health and wellbeing of young people has been put at risk. This must change.
Resource a joined-up NSW Youth Development sector to be accessible to all young people
The youth sector is essential to building the connection of young people to family, peers, community, and caring and safe adults. It supports young people’s healthy development and operates across a wide range of areas for the benefit of young people.
Many young people in NSW need additional support to reach their full potential. Young people present to youth services in NSW with issues most predominantly, of homelessness, employment, education and training, and family relationships or breakdown respectively.
The youth support sector provides services to enhance the protective assets in young people's lives and support them intensively in times of need. But the majority of youth services report working at capacity and not being able to meet demand. The continuum of service provision in NSW is broken, and despite broad support for change, reforms haven’t harnessed the expertise in the sector.
(02) 8354 3706
Youth Action Office
(02) 8354 3700
(02) 8354 3702
0412 708 964
Jacqui McKenzie, Policy and Advocacy Manager
p. (02) 8354 3706
e. [email protected]
About Youth Action
Youth Action is the peak body for young people and youth services in NSW. We represent 1.4 million young people and the services that support them.
We work towards a society where all young people are valued, engaged and supported.