Media Release by The Hon Sussan Ley MP

Youth: Plibersek misses the point yet again

The Australian Government’s longstanding support for the Young Australian of the Year Awards is a recognition and celebration of the many young Australians who make substantial and outstanding contributions to their communities.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Children and Youth Affairs, the Hon Sussan Ley, today encouraged all Australians to mark International Youth Day – Friday 12th August, by nominating a young person in their community for the Young Australian of the Year Award.

“With nominations for the 2006 Young Australian of the Year Awards closing on August 29, I’d like all Australians to think about the young people in their community and what they achieve,” Mrs Ley said.

“The Young Australian of the Year Awards recognise the valuable contributions young people make to our communities, while encouraging them in their pursuit of excellence.

“These Awards are a testament to the diversity of Australia’s young people and their willingness to make an impact both to their communities and the nation,” Mrs Ley said.

The Young Australian of the Year will be announced on 25 January 2006 on the lawns of Parliament House, Canberra. Nomination forms are available through the Australian of the Year website (

Responding to comments by the Shadow Minister for Youth, Tanya Plibersek, Mrs Ley said the Government’s commitment to youth is real and ongoing, for instance:

  • The National Youth Roundtable and the National Indigenous Youth Leadership Group 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.
  • National Youth Week is Australia’s largest annual celebration of young people.
  • Mentor Marketplace engages the business and community sector to provide mentoring to improve outcomes for young people. The 2005 – 06 Budget includes funding of $12 million over the next four years to continue to help young people who need assistance staying connected to family, community, education, training and the workplace.
  • The Reconnect program provides early intervention services that aim to improve the level of engagement of young people who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness, with their families, education, training, employment and community. There are currently 97 Reconnect services operating across Australia and since the implementation in late 1999, Reconnect services have provided support to over 40,000 young people and their families.
  • The YAS/FLW programme provides early intervention assistance to young people and their families, which aims to prevent young people from developing and continuing with patterns of behaviour that may have negative long-term effects on their family relationships, schooling and employment.
  • The Transition to Independent Living Allowance (TILA) programme provides one-off assistance of up to $1000 value in goods or services to young people leaving state-supported care. The 2005 – 06 Budget includes extended funding of $10.6 million over the next four years.
  • As announced in the 2004 Budget, the Government allocated a further $13.6 million over four years to extend the ‘Strengthening and Supporting Families Coping with Illicit Drug Use’ (Strengthening Families) measure.
  • The Living Choices publication along with the Source website ( details the range of services and support that the Australian Government provides for young people.

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