As part of the Federal Budget 2015, the Australian Government has cut the amount it spends on ‘youth engagement’. This means there will be no more federal National Youth Week activities:
- the National Youth Awards have been cancelled;
- the National Youth Week organising committee will not meet;
- the National Youth Week website, e-news and social media will be removed.
For the next two years, the Australian Government will give some money to states and territories to run their own local National Youth Week activities. But from 30 June 2017, the Australian Government has said there will be no money for any National Youth Week activities. Unless it gives future funding commitments, the Australian Government has essentially cancelled National Youth Week from this date.
What are other effects of these youth engagement cuts?
The Australian Clearinghouse for Youth Studies (ACYS) has been defunded and will be forced to close at the end of June 2015. For 30 years, ACYS has provided good practice information to youth workers. Losing ACYS will mean youth services and policy makers lose access to resources and knowledge, which means poorer outcomes for young people and their families.
How else will the Australian Government include and celebrate young people and youth workers?
It’s not clear. The Abbot Government has no Minister for Youth or a dedicated youth portfolio. It has already defunded the national youth peak body, the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC) and removed the Australian Youth Forum. So the Australian Government currently has no way of hearing or working with young people and the youth sector.
In May 2014, Senator Scott Ryan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education and Training, said the government was planning a “focused and targeted approach” to consult with young people. However, this hasn’t yet happened and the youth engagement cuts suggest it will never take place.
What can I do?
Contact your local Member or Senator. Ask them to put pressure on the Australian Government to re-invest in young Australians and those who support them. You can also contact Christopher Pyne, Minister for Education and Training, via Facebook or Twitter.
Australia’s national, state and territory youth peak bodies will continue to campaign about the government’s lack of engagement with young people and youth workers.
Media queries: Leo Fieldgrass, AYAC National Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 0450 427584.