Our policy and advocacy work is directly shaped through consultation with young people and youth services. Read our full policy priorities document.
Calling for a Strong Commitment to Young People - National Youth Plan
Youth Action together with the other state and territory youth peaks are calling on all parties and independents to commit to a National Youth Plan ahead of the 2022 federal election.
The plan drives action on key priorities identified by young people and will embed their voices and lived experience in government decision-making, calling for action on matters such as climate change, disaster resilience and recovery, employment, education, housing security, mental health and access and inclusion.
In a unique partnership between Youth Action, The Australia Institute, and most importantly, a diverse range of young people from across NSW, we have produced a youth employment report, ‘Bearing the Brunt’.
Young people have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, making up 39% of the job losses during lockdowns. Young workers are highly represented in casual work and the hardest hit industries like retail and hospitality of which the COVID-19 restrictions disproportionately impacted.
Youth Action welcomes this opportunity to make this submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Road Safety’s inquiry into support for rural and regional learner drivers. This is an area of importance to young people and the youth sector in New South Wales, which significantly impacts day-to-day life. The state's geography and public transport
infrastructure make private transport via car a necessity for many young people in rural, regional and some outer-metropolitan areas.
Youth Action welcomes this opportunity to make a submission to the Select Committee on Job Security Inquiry. We are calling on the government to mitigate the impact of insecure and precarious employment upon young people. While young people see opportunity within the tech-driven on-demand and gig economies, they also expect job opportunities that are reliable and provide decent working conditions. Security is increasingly important as Australia recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Young people's voices and lived experience should be central to government approaches to job security and young people are eager to participate in decision-making processes impacting them. Youth Action encourages the government to consult young people in an ongoing and meaningful manner on these issues.
New research conducted by NCOSS and Youth Action into Buy Now Pay Later products highlights the fact that young people predominantly use these products responsibly and that they see them as a legitimate way for those on low incomes to manage the increasing cost of living. It does however also draw attention to the precarious financial situation for many young people and how a sudden reduction in income can quickly lead to a young person finding themselves in a difficult debt situation. Young people tell us that they want more opportunities for financial literacy education. This report shows that this kind of education could be particularly beneficial to younger ages or those in vulnerable financial situations.
Young Renters: We hear you!
Youth Action welcomes the opportunity to make this submission to the Joint Select Committee on Coercive Control for their inquiry into coercive control in domestic relationships. Youth Action refers the Committee to the submissions of Women’s Safety NSW and Domestic Violence NSW, whom we support, regarding the introduction of a Coercive Control offence here in NSW. In making recommendations for change on behalf of young people, Youth Action’s submission focuses upon young people’s experience of Coercive Control and the non-legislative responses which should occur prior to, or alongside, the creation of a Coercive Control offence.
Youth Action welcomes the invitation to provide a submission to the inquiry into the child protection and social services system (the System).
We have welcomed the changes made as a result of various government’s increased focus on evidence based and trauma informed approaches to marginalised young people at risk of, or in contact with the System. However, too many young people still find themselves at a disadvantage.
There are continued calls for greater participation of young people in policy development and service provision. This is despite many reports, inquiries and commissions into the failings of the System recommending significant, system level changes. Youth Action is advocating for a NSW where every young person is valued, engaged and supported. The cornerstone of this objective is improving the decision-making processes in NSW through utilising the diverse range of expertise of both young people and the youth sector as experts in their own lives.
This document provides a joint comment on NSW Government's draft Student Behaviour Strategy from Youth Action and Yfoundations. We believe there is a real opportunity to embed young people's voice in the decision-making process, and support further consultation and engagement with students and youth organisations regarding school policies.
Youth Action welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Social Services Legislation Amendment (Strengthening Income Support) Bill 2021. We are calling on the Government to reconsider its announced minimal increased with a meaningful increase that lifts young people out of poverty. The ramifications of a social service system that continues to entrench poverty from a young age will lead to poorer educational, employment and social outcomes for all communities. A meaningful increase in Youth Allowance and JobSeeker will not only support Individuals but lead to stronger communities and empowered young people. This submission is informed by our ongoing advocacy in equity and poverty reduction, joint campaigning efforts with the Raise the Rate for Good campaign, and most significantly by the voices of young people and the services that support them.
Youth Action welcomes the invitation to make a submission to the Inquiry
into Assaults on Members of the NSW Police Force by the Committee on
Law and Safety. NSW Police play an integral role in community safety and
have the right to conduct their work without fear of violence. While the
NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research indicates instances of police assault from young people is low, we believe this inquiry has the potential to strengthen police practices and programs to support positive relations with young people and limit any potential violent behaviour.
The Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC) together with Youth Action and the other state and territory youth sector peak bodies across Australia created a joint submission calling on the Council of Attorneys-General (COAG) and the Australian Government to raise the age of legal criminal responsibility from 10 years to 14.
The research is clear, prevention and early intervention is better for young people, better for communities and better for the government's hip pocket.
Yet even after decades of government reports, reviews and reforms calling for greater investment, there has been little movement and funding continues to be crisis oriented rather than focusing on preventing the issue in the first case and intervening much earlier when an issue starts to arise.
The failure to grow investment in true prevention or early intervention only serves to increase children, young people and families who require intensive support, while at the same time undermines effective work already happening on the ground.
Youth Action in partnership with Fams and LSCA have done the groundwork to prepare the 2019 early intervention review paper 'The case for an effective prevention and early intervention approach' which fills the definitional gap and proposes a model for investment.
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 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. There are 10 fundamental changes young people need.
Employment is essential to a young person’s wellbeing and future success. Having a job gives a young person the opportunity to attain financial security, independence, skill development and a sense of belonging. However, youth unemployment is very high across NSW and this has long-term detriments for those young people, the economy and the wider community. Youth Action made a submission to the Senate Inquiry into jobactive, to represent the voices of young jobseekers. We recommended that the government do more to tackle youth unemployment, especially for marginalised young people.
Understanding how issues affect young people starts with listening to them and hearing their perspectives. Many organisations and stakeholders try to work in the interests of young people without asking their views on the issues that affect them most.
That's why we surveyed 3,400 young people to seek their views on the issues that they care about and which have the greatest impact on their lives.
A society where young people are empowered to make political decisions, and where political parties are dedicated to making the best policies for young people will ensure a positive future for Australia as a whole. That's why we submitted to the Committee on Electoral Matters Inquiry into the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment Bill.
Youth Action joined with the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition and six other state youth peaks to support the 2018 Bill to lower the minimum, non-compulsory voting age to 16.
In partnership with fourteen other community sector peaks, Youth Action urges the state government to overhaul the way NSW provides supports to young people who are vulnerable and at risk.
In June 2018, Youth Action responded to the NSW Government's Review of s61HA of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). Legislative changes are essential when their impact can create a safer and more inclusive community, and give young people the best chance to develop and succeed.
In 2017 Youth Action made three pre-budget submissions to the NSW Government's budget process. These addressed career guidance, youth employment and youth suicide prevention. Our submissions outlined specific recommendations for investments the NSW Government could make to improve outcomes for young people.
In 2017 Youth Action ran What's Up West? Youth Conference. We had an amazing time with 250 young people over two days in Bankstown, and we joined by 20 organisations to run 37 workshops to give young people the skills they need to be change-makers in their community.
Vocational Education and Training (VET) plays a vital role for young people in the transition from school to both further education and employment. Difficulties with this transition can result in unemployment, underemployment and social exclusion that may affect young people for the rest of their lives and have long-term undesirable social and economic implications.
In January 2018, we produced a submission to the NSW Parliament's Committee on Law and Safety's Inquiry into Youth Diversionary Programs in NSW. The inquiry provided an opportunity to highlight information relevant to obtaining successful outcomes for young people who are involved with youth diversionary programs, or who are at-risk of future involvement.
In November 2017 we responded to the Department of Family and Community Services discussion paper, Shaping a Better Child Protection System. We advocated for an integrated, whole of government approach to securing the best outcomes for children and young people who need protection in NSW.
In October 2017 we responded to the Department of Justice's Strengthening Child Sexual Abuse Laws discussion paper. Our response focussed in particular on changes to sexting laws that we have previously advocated for.
In 2017, Youth Action provided a submission to the NSW Parliament's Inquiry into the Prevention of Youth Suicide.
Work is critical to wellbeing and good life outcomes. But getting a job is harder than ever before, and the employment landscape is increasingly challenging. The missing link is careers guidance.
This report highlights the employment challenges faced by young people in Western Sydney. It shows the need to invest more in training, and to create greater opportunities for young people looking for work in the region.
In 2016 Youth Action provided a brief submission to the Attorney General regarding 'Revenge Porn' - the non-consensual sharing of intimate content.
Greater Western Sydney is home to 470,000 young people, many of whom have been negatively impacted by stereotypes and inaccurate depictions of the region. Our report challenges these stereotypes.
In 2017 Youth Action provided a submission to the NSW inquiry regarding education and disability. Our submission highlighted the barriers to education for young people with disability, as well as the need for a youth friendly complaint system.
The Greater Sydney Commission launched draft plans for Metropolitan Sydney's six districts, with the goal to have well-coordinated, integrated and effective planning for land use, transport, and infrastructure. Youth Action's submission focusses on the South West and West Central districts.
All children and young people at risk in NSW should receive the services they need to succeed in life. But this is not the case. Young people aged 14 – 17 are less likely to get a response from child protection when at risk of significant harm. They are ‘forgotten’ in the system.
Youth Action partnered with MYAN NSW to provide a response to the Inquiry into Migrant Settlement Outcomes. Our submission focussed on the youth settlement and multicultural sector in NSW, as well as addressing misrepresentations regarding young people and anti-social behaviour.
Social housing remains inappropriate and inaccessible to many young people, and is a contributing to poor housing outcomes for young people in NSW.
Youth Action submitted our policy paper 'Social Housing for Young People in NSW' to the 2016 Review of rent models for social and affordable housing.
Youth Action led a joint submission from youth peaks across Australia to the Federal government. The submission was in response to the bill that would enact the Youth Jobs Path: Prepare, Trial, Hire initiative.
The NSW government is forming its next homelessness strategy. More young people experience homelessness in NSW than in any other state and young people are overrepresented in the NSW homeless population. Young people are particularly vulnerable to homelessness.
This year the Attorney General called for submissions regarding ‘revenge porn’ – also known as the non-consensual sharing of intimate images. Measures regarding revenge porn would likely have an impact on young people who sext or share intimate images.
This year the NSW government called for consultation on the next NSW Youth Health Strategy.
Youth Action provided a response, drawing from recent research and input from members.
One quarter of young people in NSW miss breakfast, with significant negative health and educational impacts.
A healthy sexuality is an essential component of a person’s mental and physical wellbeing. Young people should have the freedom to experience their individual sexual development at their own pace and in a way that is clearly led by independent and informed thinking.
For young people in NSW, the situation is vastly different than for past generations. The housing context for young people today is characterised by declining homeownership rates, decreasing housing and rental affordability, a decline in the availability of social housing, and rising youth homelessness. The review of the RTA must therefore consider how regulatory frameworks can support young people to access stable and appropriate housing in a vastly changed landscape.
Strategies to prevent domestic violence must be informed by the experience of young people including the particular attitudes young people hold, and an understanding of the formation of those attitudes, in order to be successful.
Coupling young people with older Australians who want to age in place.
Largest and most comprehensive survey of Australian young people’s attitudes in 15 years.
See the commitments we have achieved from the Baird Government on the 9 vital youth issues in our 2015 election agenda.
Young people constitute a substantial part of the workforce, with over 73 percent of 20-24 year olds and 47 percent of 15-19 year olds in some form of employment.
Current School Suspension policy is not clear, resulting in unfair and inconsistent implementation across NSW.
One of the core challenges facing the youth-led sector is recruitment of skilled young people and retention of skilled staff.
Addressing the changing nature of youth involvement in apprenticeships and the perceived value of apprenticeships in the market.
Education transitions occur when students move between classes or schools or different settings and can be characterised by increased stress and anxiety as new relationships are formed and support services are altered.
Sexual health services in New South Wales are significantly below the standards of other Australian States.
Young people aged 12 to 24 have the highest rate of homelessness of any group in NSW with 39% of the state’s homeless population under the age of 25.
Smoking rates appear more prevalent for young people, with 27.9% of males and 24.5% of females aged 16-24 years represented in smoking statistics.
This research formed part of the Keeping It Together (KIT) Youth Sector Support Project to support the youth sector through a significant period of change brought about by two key reforms.
The "Wide Lens" project was a joint project between Youth Action and the NSW Department of Community Services: Family and Community Services.
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