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Government leaves young people out in the cold.



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MEDIA RELEASE

Senator Natasha Stott Despoja

Australian Democrats

Youth Affairs Spokesperson

 

27 May 1999

99/293

Government leaves young people out in the cold

 

Today is the last day that Australian young people will have an ongoing independent research, advocacy and advisory body to represent their interests, said the Australian Democrats’ Spokesperson on Youth Affairs, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja.

 

“This a sad day for young people in this country, who no longer have the Australian Youth Policy and Action Coalition to represent their interests and concerns, as a result of the Government’s decision to withdraw the $225,000 annual funding to AYPAC,” said Senator Stott Despoja.

 

“This is a Government which quashes dissent, and has defunded organisations which dare criticise its actions.

 

“The Australian Democrats support additional opportunities for young people to present their concerns to Government, such as the Youth Roundtable.

 

“However, there is no assurance that the views presented by delegates to this forum are being taken into account. Their recommendations that the Government apologise to the stolen generation, and their draft preamble certainly were not.

 

“The Government’s approach to the Youth Roundtable has been token. Delegates are not given ongoing funding or support. There is no evidence of any infrastructure to give them access to office space or resources.

 

“They are expected to compile comprehensive policy documents on national issues of great importance to young people, such as income support levels and youth suicide, yet are not even being reimbursed for interstate telephone calls.

 

“Not only does this place enormous pressure on the individual delegates, who must also juggle work, study job search and family responsibilities, it also compromises the degree to which this vital research and liaison can be carried out.

 

“AYPAC has been invaluable, not only in the provision of policy advice to successive Governments, but also in assisting those who work with young people, providing information through newsletters, holding conferences on youth issues and as a forum for national youth organisations throughout the country. The Youth Roundtable is simply not able to perform these vital functions.

 

“It makes no sense to create such a valuable resource for young people and Government, and then disband it. There has been a peak national youth body in this country for over 20 years. Every Government has been able to work with peak youth affairs body, except this one,” concluded Senator Stott Despoja.

 

For comment contact Senator Stott Despoja on (02) 6277 3645

 

 

rw  1999-05-31  12:13