Media Release by Senator the Hon Amanda Vanstone

A National Commitment to Young People: The Report of the Prime Minister’s Youth Pathways Action Plan Taskforce Footprints to the Future

The Government today announced an immediate response to the Report from the Prime Minister’s Youth Pathways Action Plan Taskforce: Footprints To The Future.

The Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Dr David Kemp, and the Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Amanda Vanstone, said that the measures being announced tonight in the 2001-2002 Budget were part of an ongoing response to the Youth Pathways Report, providing immediate assistance to young people in the transition from school to further education, training or work, while enabling the Government to pilot a number of proposals to achieve more successful transitions recommended by the Taskforce.

Measures complement the Australians Working Together plan, ensuring young people have the support they need for effective participation in community life.

These measures include:

  • $9.7 million over 4 years to the newly established Enterprise and Career Education Foundation (ECEF) so it can expand coverage of its Work-Placement Coordinator arrangements into remote parts of central and northern Australia. ECEF promotes linkages between schools, businesses and the community, by helping students get vocational, enterprise and career education, knowledge and experience before they leave school. The funding is in addition to almost $100 million (over 2000 to 2004) announced for the ECEF at its launch in March 2001. The Government’s establishment of the ECEF has already addressed the Taskforce Report’s recommendation to build on the work of the Australian Student Traineeship Foundation;
  • $3.6 million in 2002 to pilot the provision of around 30 career and transition advisers to work with schools, local communities, young people and their families;
  • $3.7 million in 2002 for around 18 innovative pilots testing ways to achieve successful integrated community support, including through government agencies, for young people in transition;
  • $6.4 million from 2002-2003 to provide a Transition to Independent Living Allowance (TILA) that provides a targeted, one-off payment of up to $1,000 to young people exiting State care, in return for undertaking a transition plan and ongoing mentoring, to help defray the costs of entry to study or work and rental bonds; and
  • $4.8 million from 2002-2003 to expand mentoring opportunities for young people through the development of the Mentor Marketplace.

The Government will also provide long-term continuity for two highly successful youth transition programmes with direct programme funding in the 2001-2002 Budget of:

  • $74.4 million over four years to continue the Job Placement, Employment and Training (JPET) Programme to 2005 to benefit young people at risk of homelessness and other disadvantaged young people; and
  • $95.0 million over four years for the Jobs Pathway Programme to ensure that services continue to assist up to 70,000 young people annually from over 1,600 secondary schools around Australia.

“These ongoing measures address some immediate needs and reinforce initiatives already underway. The Government is also developing a comprehensive response to the Report for consideration in the 2002-2003 Budget,” said Dr Kemp.

The Commonwealth Government will also work with the States and Territories and other stakeholder groups to develop successful transition systems for all young people, as proposed by the Taskforce. This will be progressed through Commonwealth-State Ministerial Councils responsible for education, health and community services.

Senator Vanstone said, “It is vital that all levels of government, the business community, non-government providers and individuals work together to provide a coordinated web of support for young people and their families.”

“This package embraces an integrated approach. For example, the Mentor Marketplace will increase young people’s access to mentoring, which is a proven method of assisting young people to stay connected to the education, training and employment systems. Also, the new Transition to Independent Living Allowance will assist young people leaving state care and stop them from falling through the cracks,” said Senator Vanstone.

Dr Kemp said, “The clear message from the Taskforce’s Report is that the Government’s current initiatives in education and community services are already working to support young people.

“We now need to act to make sure that no young people fall through the gaps by failing to make a successful move from school to further education, training and employment.

“This Report shows all governments the way forward.”

The Report recognised that the Commonwealth Government was already doing a great deal through its reform agenda to maximise young people’s opportunities. Singled out as being particularly important were:

  • the Commonwealth/State agreed National Goals for Schooling in the Twenty-First Century;
  • the Vocational Education and Training in Schools Framework;
  • the Prime Minister’s Community and Business Partnership; and
  • the Stronger Families and Communities Strategy, including the Reconnect programme.

The Report acknowledged that the Commonwealth’s National Indigenous English Literacy and Numeracy Strategy would address low literacy and numeracy in Indigenous communities.

Receiving the Report on behalf of the Government, Senator Vanstone and Dr Kemp thanked the Chair of the Taskforce, Captain David Eldridge, and other members for their effort and dedication in the preparation of the Report that tackles a range of complex issues. With membership from the community, academic, business and government sectors as well as two young people, the Taskforce brought a whole of community perspective on youth issues through widespread consultation with young people and organisations working with youth.

“As a result,” said Dr Kemp, “the Report provides a framework for supporting young people through school and from school to further education, training, work and active citizenship.”