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Government and Opposition buck-passing on youth

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Senator Natasha Stott Despoja -

Australian Democrats Youth Affairs Spokesperson

26 March 1998 MEDIA RELEASE 98/195

Government and Opposition buck-passing on youth

Responding to pressure from the Australian Democrats, Senator Chris Ellison, representing the Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs, finally attempted in Question Time today to address issues raised in the DusseIdorp Skills Forum Australia's youth: reality and risk.

"I was keen to hear a response from the Government on the damning findings in this report but the Senator's statement was woeful. He failed to answer the Question and failed to tackle in any meaningful way the issues raised in this report just as his Government is failing Australia's young people," said Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, the Democrats'

Youth Affairs and Employment Spokesperson.

The Dusseldorp Report found that Australia's young people are suffering more than ever, with successive governments having failed to provide adequate education, training and employment opportunities. It further revealed that for every young person reflected in the

incredibly high official youth unemployment rate of 23%, there is another young person who has simply fallen through the ever widening holes in our social infrastructure.

Senator Stott Despoja said, "Rather than addressing these and other concerns raised by the report, both old parties have shirked their responsibility to help young people, and have instead engaged in a buck-passing exercise. Today the Government blamed the ALP. On the weekend, the ALP blamed the Government.

"After claiming the Government would address the concerns, Senator Ellison did not mention one new job opportunity for young people. He failed to answer the question, just as the Government is failing to take any real action to create opportunities for young people to improve their prospects.

"Real debate and action, not dorothy dixers are required if the problems facing young people, and consequentially, our society as a whole are to be solved. The Australian Democrats welcome the release of this report and, unlike the major parties, look forward to participating in constructive and informed discussion on the issues it raises", concluded

Senator Stott Despoja_

For comment contact Senator Stott Despoja on (02) 6277 3645 or 0418 812 589

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