Australian youth offering hope during hard times

Today we recognise and celebrate the contribution of young people across Australia as part of International Youth Day.

Established by the United Nations, International Youth Day offers a chance to raise awareness of the need to ensure the engagement and participation of youth at every level.

Minister for Youth and Sport, Richard Colbeck, said while the COVID-19 pandemic is putting a lot of demands on young people, they are rising to the challenge.

“Australian youth face significant challenges in this unprecedented period,” Minister Colbeck said. “But across every State and Territory, there are shining examples of young people offering hope in hard times.

“Of course, 2020 has been a difficult year for everybody – none more so than for young people trying to navigate through their education or early careers.”

Minister Colbeck said around Australia, a range of projects are providing support and showcasing the important role young people are playing across the community.

  • In Tasmania, the West Tamar Youth Advisory Council has been supported to transfer its activities online due to COVID-19.  The Council is determined to continue engaging in the community and has been holding online interviews to continue to give young people a voice. The online content also includes sessions covering study tips and information as well as virtual cooking classes;
  • In Far North Queensland, Deadly Inspiring Youth Doing Good (DIYDG), an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth led volunteer group, aims to empower young people through workshops, training, storytelling and advocacy opportunities; and
  • In Victoria the University of Melbourne Pathways to Politics Program for Women aims to increase female participation in politics by equipping young women with the skills and knowledge to succeed in running for elected office, and to thrive as political leaders.

Nationally, the Country to Canberra project is empowering rural teenage girls to reach their leadership potential, running programs that provide education, leadership and mentorship opportunities.

Minister Colbeck said the Morrison Government also recently launched a $1 million program to help all young Australians reach their full potential, providing Youth Advocacy Support Grants to organisations advocating on behalf of young people, especially those from disadvantaged or marginalised backgrounds.

“Projects like these give a voice to our young people,” Minister Colbeck said.

“They help keep young Australians connected in a physically-distant world and they remind the community just how important it is for young people to actively participate in and contribute to our society.”

Additionally, The Morrison Government is delivering unparalleled support for young Australians through the vital JobKeeper program, providing education and new opportunities through the Supporting Apprentices and Trainees package and JobTrainer and helping young people realise the dream of owning their own home and more young tradies to stay in work through HomeBuilder.

Minister Colbeck said work continues on the completion of the 2020 Australian Youth Development Index — a one-stop shop for information related to the most significant issues young Australians face.

“Good public policy hinges on solid evidence-based research and current statistics,” Minister Colbeck said. “It will be a valuable resource.”

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