The state budget, handed down today by the Queensland Government, sees another $5 million dollars of funding cut from front-line youth services.
The Director of the Youth Affairs Network of Queensland has warned that this broken promise will have negative impacts on the whole community.
Today's budget papers confirm that on top of efficiency cuts to youth services over the previous year, the Department of Communities has cut millions of dollars of funding to the Youth Support Co-ordinators Program, a program focused on supporting young people who are at risk of or have disengaged from learning to successfully transition into and through their Senior Phase of Learning.
Youth Affairs Network of Queensland's (YANQ) Director, Siyavash Doostkhah, has today strongly criticised the LNP Government for their broken election promise.
“These are front-line services we are talking about. The research and evidence on hand clearly demonstrate the link between disengaging from schools and ending up in the criminal justice system,” said Mr Doostkhah.
“The budget has failed young Queenslanders and the whole community will ultimately pay the price. Putting young people straight in detention does not make the community safer. It only teaches young people to become hardened criminals.”
“The Queensland Government spends hundreds of thousands of dollars per year on each young person locked in Youth Detention Centres. This money would be much better spent in the communities where these young people come from, giving them alternative options and ensuring they stay in schools and away from the criminal justice system.”
“Unlike other states where they are closing their Youth Detention Centres, we fear that Queensland will have to build another centre to cope with the fallout of cutting funding to preventative services.”
The youth sector in Queensland has been the hardest hit by the LNP funding cuts and reviews. Youth workers play a critical role in the lives of disengaged young people. They build trusting relationships with young people and help young people re-engage with community and become a contributing member of society.
Director - Youth Affairs Network Qld
07 3844 7713 | firstname.lastname@example.org
YANQ Director Siyavash Doostkhah was on Triple J's Hack program this evening as part of a special feature on Qld continuing to lock young people up in adult prisons. You can listen to the podcast here - http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/triplej/hack/daily/hack_thu_2012_11_22.mp3
AN investigation has revealed the use of excessive force by staff at Queensland's youth detention centres.
Restraint techniques used to control young people are being reviewed by the Justice Department after a report by the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian highlighted "systemic issues" at the state's two centres in Brisbane and Townsville.
The report examines the cases of six young detainees who suffered serious injuries between September 2009 and November 2010, including a dislocated shoulder and fractured upper arm; four fractured wrists; and a fractured forearm.
One of the youngsters, who suffered a broken right wrist after being put in transport wrist locks by two workers, was just 148cm (4ft 10in) tall and weighed only 28kg.
The technique involves immobilising a young person's forearm and then bending their hand inwards, causing medium to high levels of pain.
Youth Affairs Network of Queensland executive director Siyavash Doostkhah said the report was "disturbing", especially with the State Government prepared to open Queensland's first two boot camps.
Mr Doostkhah welcomed the recommendations but said "an urgent independent inquiry" was needed, which should investigate excessive use of solitary confinement.
A Department of Justice spokesman said the recommendations were being addressed.
Coalition of Community Boards' and YANQ's Trish Ferrier discusses Get Set for Work with 4ZzZ.
Listen to the interview online here.
The Get Set for Work program was one of many initiatives that will cease to exist after the Newman Government cut funding to the Skilling Queenslanders for Work scheme.
Currently it is set to expire at the end of the year, but youth advocates say the State Government may not be able to choose to cut the funding.
The Coalition of Community Boards (CCB) has put together research which it says shows the State Government has a responsibility to provide young people with vocational training programs.
Under the Vocational Education, Training and Employment Act 2000 the government has a duty to "ensure (a) employment skills development programs are developed to meet the diverse needs of young people in the compulsory participation phase; and (b) the programs are accessible by young people in the compulsory participation phase".
A member of CCB and Treasurer of the Deception Bay Community Youth Program Trish Ferrier says by cutting the Get Set for Work Program, which specifically targets young people, the government is in breach of its statutory responsibilities as set out in the Act.
She spoke with Brisbane Line Reporter Steven Riggall about the issue.
Youth Affairs Network Queensland believes young people have been the hardest hit by the Newman Government's savings drive, and community groups dependant on state funding are too fearful to speak out.
Queensland's peak body for youth affairs predicts there'll be more young people behind bars in the state within a year due to the LNP's cost cutting measures.
Click to listen to the feature
Guests Siyavash Doostkhah
Director, Youth Affairs Network Queensland
Commissioner, Commission of Children and Young People and Adult Guardian
Cathy Ban Extel, Queenland reporter
Darryl Passmore of the Courier Mail wrties that Premier Campbell Newman's public servant gag orders a return to bad old days.
THE Newman Government has been accused of trying to silence dissent by "intimidating" critics in the community sector. Senior staff of state-funded organisations have received phone calls telling them their presence at rallies protesting against Government spending cuts has been noted.
It has drawn comparisons to the Joh Bjelke-Petersen era and his goon squad of Special Branch police.
Other groups who have been quoted publicly on the impacts of cost-cutting measures have received "please explain" calls.
Youth Affairs Network of Queensland, which will lose its $270,000 annual funding from December after 20 years as the state's peak body for youth services, claims it was punished for making a public call to other groups to unite against cutbacks.
In a newsletter article, executive director Siyavash Doostkhah had criticised the Government over cutbacks affecting the disadvantaged and attacked other non-profits as traitors for "remaining silent during these critical times".
The Director of Queensland's youth peak body Youth Affairs Network Queensland (YANQ), Siyavash Doostkhah, has today accused the Queensland Government of abandoning and betraying young people and youth workers by cutting their support services.
"Premier Newman is acting like an unprepared Army General who leaves his solders in trenches without information, support, logistics, training and supplies", said Mr Doostkhah.
"The situation we now have in Queensland is the Premier insisting his government is all about front line services, whilst severely cutting all support systems for these services. The Newman Government has single-handedly put the entire youth sector in Queensland on the verge of collapse."
Government funding cuts have impacted significantly on support services to young people, with education, training, employment, justice and health services all being affected. The Government has also commenced a review of all youth programs, following on from initial 10% cuts to funding. More youth services are likely to lose their funding in the near future.
Leading youth affairs organisations around Australia have today expressed their strong opposition to plans to silence the principal voice for young Queenslanders and the youth sector that supports them
The Queensland government has indicated that funding to the Youth Affairs Network of Queensland (YANQ) will cease in just over two months, making it impossible for the voices and needs of young people to be heard in important decision making processes that affect their lives. Executive director of the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition, Andrew Cummings said, “YANQ is the only body in Queensland recognised as having the ability to speak out on the interests and wellbeing of young people across the state. Without YANQ, Queensland will be the only state without the capacity to contribute to important national debates affecting their young people, such as education reforms, youth disability services under the NDIS and Indigenous affairs.”
YANQ has received Queensland government funding for the past 21 years. In that time it has consolidated a strong network of youth support services - able to provide informed and evidence-based advice to government on the most pressing needs for young people and improve decisions that impact their lives.