Media Release by The Hon Sussan Ley MP

Australia’s Youth – a priority for the Australian Government

The Australian Government is committed more than ever to working with and listening to young people to deliver a range of programs and payments that best meets their needs.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Children and Youth Affairs, Mrs Sussan Ley, reiterated the Australian Government’s ongoing commitment to provide further opportunities for young Australians to participate in education, in employment and in their communities.

“The Australian Government is continuing to support programs that contribute to the health and well being of young people including youth consultation, young people at risk and youth development.

“The National Youth Roundtable is one such project that has changed the way the Government deals with issues affecting young people. It provides a unique opportunity for young Australians from a range of backgrounds and circumstances to come together to explore issues affecting our youth in an open and frank exchange of views. The next meeting of the Roundtable is in December and I look forward to meeting the young people and listening to their views.

“Youth Activity Services is another early intervention program, funded by the Australian Government, to support young people and their families to build self-reliance, strengthen family relationships and encourage community involvement. This was extended in 1997 to include the Family Liaison Worker program, which provided a specific family support component.

“The Australian Government has also increased the community’s capacity to offer young people the chance to participate in a mentoring relationship through its Mentor Marketplace Program. We have spent $4.4 million over the last three years to fund 27 national government organisations to improve the level of youth mentoring in Australia, with 2,500 young people participating in the current year.

“The Reconnect program, which helps young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to reconnect with their families, is another example of the Government’s commitment to Australia’s youth. We have allocated more than $80 million over four years to the program in the 2003–04 Budget. Since its implementation around 100 Reconnect services have provided support to over 50,000 young people and their families.

“The Australian Government is proud of its overall record for young people and I am totally committed to continuing to work with young Australians,” Mrs Ley said.