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Australian Youth Forum: Labor's first test for youth.

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Mrs Sophie Mirabella MP Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education, Childcare, Women and Youth

Shadow Minister for Youth Sophie Mirabella today wished young Australians attending the National Youth Forum launch in Adelaide an enjoyable and worthwhile experience.

Labor’s Australian Youth Forum (AYF) was today launched by Minister for Youth the Hon. Kate Ellis and Jamie Briggs MP, Federal Member for Mayo represented Shadow Minister for Youth Sophie Mirabella. The AYF is a new Rudd Government initiative which replaces the Coalition’s extremely successful National Youth Roundtable.

“The National Youth Roundtable was established by the former Coalition Government to give young people a seat at the policy-making table in order to have direct involvement and dialogue with the government on policy areas that affected them. We are very proud of its achievements in the area of giving young people a voice in Government,” Mrs Mirabella said.

“Sadly, one of the first and only actions of the Rudd Government in the youth portfolio was to abolish the National Youth Roundtable.”

“Whilst the Coalition supports the Rudd Government in their attempt to establish a body directly focussed on young Australians, Labor’s AYF must provide the same opportunities that the Roundtable provided, in order to prove that the Minister’s decision to abolish the Roundtable in her first moments in the ministerial wing wasn’t a blatant political move,” Mrs Mirabella said.

“The AYF must recognise the unique issues facing young Australians today: None more important than the ability to get a job and gain employment, learn and develop skills, having the opportunity to fulfil their educational dreams, the rising cost of living, housing affordability, and of course social issues such as obesity and serious alcohol and drug issues, all of which are on the minds of young Australians.”

“There have been considerable amounts of criticism towards the Youth 2020 Summit, with many labelling it as nothing but a talkfest. My hope would be that Labor’s AYF will be more meaningful and beneficial for young Australians than the 2020 summit which many have labelled as a waste of time,” Mrs Mirabella said.

“Discussion and feedback from delegates at the AYF must be given serious consideration by the Rudd Government. Labor talked a lot about having a Minister for Youth - but this position needs to be more about action for young people rather than simply a fancy title for the Minister.”

“The AYF will be a test for the Labor Government about their seriousness of dealing with issues in the youth portfolio. The Coalition remains committed to supporting any measures that would see more consultation between young Australians and

government and we wish the AYF every success at providing young Australians this opportunity,” Mrs Mirabella concluded.