Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Labor to cut $47 million from youth services

Leader of the Opposition, Mark Latham has announced that a Labor Government would axe funding to essential youth services and redirect it to fund public libraries, leaving thousands of young people at risk with no Government support, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, said today.

“The Coalition Government provides almost $47 million each year to services that support young people at risk. This includes:

  • The Job Placement, Employment and Training (JPET) program ($20 million) – assists young people at risk find work or undertake education and training.
  • Reconnect ($20 million) – keeping young people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in touch with their families, education and employment.
  • Family Liaison Workers and Youth Activity Services ($7 million) – works with young people and their families in low income areas to assist them to work through their specific family issues.

“In addition to this, Mr Latham by default has slammed the wonderful work done by community organisations such as Police and Citizens Youth Clubs (PCYC), the YWCA and YMCA’s, and the Salvation Army Oasis Youth Centres, just to name a few.

“As reported in today’s Daily Telegraph that this funding should go to public libraries, Mr Latham has shown his complete lack of understanding of the issues facing youth at risk.

“These young people face significant barriers to engaging in the community and face problems such as family crises, abuse issues, depression and mental illness. The local librarian is not the right person to deal with these issues.

“These Government funded youth services are often the only way many young people at risk can get back on their feet. The support they provide is often the bridge they need to get into education, training and employment and getting their life back on track.

“The Labor Party’s approach to creating their social policy platform has suddenly come the tale of Mark Latham’s own personal development. However, what worked for Leader of the Opposition will not necessarily work for Australia’s youth of today.

“Public libraries may have helped Mr Latham when he was young, but that does not mean it is the solution to problems facing Australia’s young people at risk.

“The heckler in the crowd yesterday said it best – these kids need help and a book is not going to do it,” Mr Anthony said.