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Burdekin report

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N I ™ γπι sR E L E A SEMinister for Social Security · Brian Howe MPBLH 8/89 February 22, 1989BURDEKIN REPORTThe Minister for Social Security, Brian Howe, the Minister for Housing, Peter Staples, and the Minister for Employment and Education Services, Peter Duncan, today welcomed the release of the Burdekin report into youth homelessness as a comprehensive and timely document.Mr Howe, who is also the Minister assisting the Prime Minister for Social Justice, said the report would assist the Government in meeting its youth social justice objectives which were set out last year.The youth social justice strategy aims to promote young people’s role in economic and social life and identified five key concerns crossing a range of portfolios - housing, income support and labour market assistance, training and education, health, and access to information and advice."The Burdekin report is a thoroughly researched andwe11-documented examination of a web of complex issues that the Government has already begun to address," the Ministers said."The issues raised by the sad and disturbing lifestyle of some young Australians presented in the report cannot be confined to any one policy area or level of Government."They demand a co-ordinated, long-term response which recognises that the ultimate aim must be not just to help young people who find themselves in this situation, but to develop m’ echanisms and services which will prevent that occurring."While it is clear that the report identifies some deficiencies in current support systems, many of those issues have already begun to be addressed by the Government."As acknowledged by the report, the Family Allowance Supplement has done much to assist many children out of poverty."Mr Staples said the Hawke Government was now spending six times as much as the Fraser Government on crisis accommodation programs which provide refuges and other forms of housing assistance for those in need."The Federal Government has increased spending on refuges from $14 million to $85 million since it came to office," Mr Staples said.

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"The Prime Minister also announced with me last October an offer of an extra $40 million to the States to expand programs for the homeless and people in crisis.

"The Government's current review of housing programs will also address the issue of homeless children before reporting to Cabinet in the near future."

Mr Duncan said that despite an overall rise in unemployment in January 1989, the number of jobless teenagers had fallen by 2,100, around 20 per cent lower than a year earlier.

"The proportion of unemployed teenagers fell from 8 per cent in January 1988 to 6.5 per cent in Janaury this year.

"This improvement in teenage unemployment reflects both the improvement in the labour market and the effectiveness of the Federal Government's youth strategy.

"However, as the report makes clear, it is also incumbent upon the States to seriously examine the shortcomings in services at the community level so they can design programs that can respond to these needs right from the start."

The Ministers said it was obvious from the scope of the report that it was not possible or appropriate for the Government to make a detailed response immediately.

The report will be referred for consideration to the youth social justice steering committee which was established last year by Mr Howe and Mr Duncan. -x

The committee is made up of senior representatives from the Departments of Social Security, Employment, Education and Training, Community Services and Health and the Social Justice Secretariat. Its role is to co-ordinate and develop youth

policy within the social justice framework.

The steering committee will then report to the Government.

The Prime Minister will then consult State Premiers about the range of issues involved.


Media contacts:

Mr Howe's office, Jane Smith (062) 77 7560; Mr Staples’ office, Lancia Jordana (062) 77 7220; Mr Duncan's office, Collette Snowden, (062) 77 7540