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Howard's only agenda for young people is to make life tougher.



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Nicola Roxon MP Shadow Minister for Children and Youth

For more information call: Nicola Roxon or Matt Nurse on (03) 9687 7355 or 0417 386 535

M E D I A R E L E A

M E D I A R E L E A S E

Howard’s Only Agenda For Young People Is To Make Life Tougher

Young Australians have been ignored by the Government in their 2002-3 Budget.

The Government promised during the federal election in its youth policy platform that they would ‘Provide a comprehensive response to the Youth Pathways Report in the 2002 Budget’.

“So where is it?” asked Ms Roxon.

Yet again, we see one story from this Government before the election and another after. Despite the election promises, there is no real response in the Budget.

The Government commissioned the Youth Pathways Report to look at some of the country’s most marginalised young people. It reported to the Minister on 15 January 2001, but was not released until 22 May 2001, after last year’s budget - and now it has been ignored in this one.

The Reports recommendations include that:

• The Commonwealth develop a stated Commitment to Young People. • The Commonwealth ensure that all young people have access to high quality career and transition support. • The Commonwealth Government investigate options to better align the Youth

Allowance and Family Tax Benefit income tests to ensure effective targeting of assistance to low-to-middle income families.

We have seen very little action in all these three areas and many others included in the Report.

Instead of targeting young people to assist them, the Government targets them to make life tougher. Its scheme to increase revenue via breaching Youth Allowance and Newstart recipients is an example of the Government’s cruel attitude to young people studying and looking for work.

Extra funding for our nation’s schools is scarce and there are no steps to show they are listening to young people at all. In fact, despite the hard work and written submissions from the members of the Youth Roundtable over successive years (and at the great cost of over $500,000 per year since 1999) the Government has steadfastly refused to take much action on their work.

I always suspected that this Government had no third term agenda for young people. The budget has confirmed my suspicion to the Australian public.

17 May 2002