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A better deal for young people: strengthening the youth social justice strategy

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Higher Education and Employment Services

Social Security

Aged, Family and Health Services

e,:. E . r & y ■ & :


The Federal Government's strategy to assist disadvantaged young Australians has been enhanced by a package of measures costing more than $38 million over the next four years.

They include: . better co-ordination of services for young people;

. extending the "Students at Risk" program for an extra year;

. improving access to benefits;

. expanding the Australian Youth Initiatives Grants program and;

. creating four specialist information and advice services for young offenders and young people from non-English speaking backgrounds.

The Minister for Higher Education and Employment Services, and responsible for Youth Affairs, Peter Baldwin, the Minister for Social Security, Senator Graham Richardson, and the Minister for Aged, Family and Health Services, Peter Staples, today announced the new measures.

"These initiatives further develop the strategy to promote social justice for all young people and particularly those who are disadvantaged," the Ministers said.

The new measures flow from a series of major reviews of youth services and programs.

"These reviews found that the $100 million Youth Social Justice Strategy, announced in 1989-90 Budget, has benefited disadvantaged young people generally," the Ministers said.




'It is providing effective and well-regarded services to a large number of young people."

Despite the overall success, the studies found there had been an uneven approach to co-ordination of services, particularly between different levels of government.

They also found more assistance could be provided for specific groups, such as inner-urban homeless, young offenders, young Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders and young people of non-English speaking backgrounds.

"More attention will be paid to the complex causes of the problems faced by young people and improved co-ordination of services," the Ministers said.

"Responsibility for co-ordination at the local level will be given to Youth Access Centres (YACS), nm by the Department of Employment, Education and Training.

"Australia's 104 YACS will act as central contact points at the local level and will provide supporting co-ordination of services for young people.

"We emphasise that they will support and assist local services rather than direct the services and programs of other government and community agencies.

"The YACS will act as a kind of information consultancy. There will also be a series of consultations with local service organisations to ensure effective co­ ordination."

Other measures designed to assist young people include:

. $6.07 million over four years to expand the Australian Youth Initiatives Grants program to develop key worker and lead agency models, to overcome service gaps and to ensure service continuity for the most disadvantaged groups, particularly young Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islanders and inner-urban homeless.

. $1.64 million over three years to create four specialist information and advice services for young offenders and young people from non-English speaking backgrounds. The services will work closely with YACS.

. $5 million to extend the "Students at Risk" program by a year with an evaluation in 1992-93.

. $25.78 million over four years for income support changes to broaden the eligibility, and improve access to, benefits for young people. The changes include:

- extension of the independent Job Search Allowance (JSA) and Sickness Allowance to certain state wards and modification of the


employment requirement for independent JSA and Sickness Allowance.

- establishment of Department of Social Security pilot projects to improve assistance for homeless young people.

- extension of eligibility for rent assistance to under 18 year old independent/homeless people.

More than 400 projects for young people in crisis have been funded under the Youth Social Justice Strategy.

'There is still much work to be done to improve the situation of disadvantaged young people, particularly the homeless," the Ministers said.

"The Commonwealth will continue to work with the States to provide more effective and co-ordinated assistance.

"We believe this additional funding and the new focus on co-ordination through the YACS will make the Youth Social Justice Strategy more effective and lead to many more disadvantaged young people receiving assistance."

August 20,1991 ..

Enquiries: Jane Robinson (06) 277 7540 Minister Baldwin's Office

Greg Borschmann (06) 277 7560 Senator Richardson's Office

Howard Conkey (06) 277 7220 Minister Staple's Office