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2 years ago
An Albanese Labor Government will provide young Australians with strong and formalised engagement in government and policy making.

Under the Morrison Government, young people have been denied the opportunity to be part of forming the policies and making the decisions that impact their lives and futures.

As a result, younger people now face a future of high underemployment, depleted retirement savings, significant barriers to education and training, and a rent and housing affordability crisis.

Since 2013 when the Abbott Government abolished the Youth Advisory Council and the Office for Youth, both introduced by the previous Labor Government, there has been no framework for direct engagement between young Australians and the Federal Government.

Unlike the government, Labor is already consulting with and listening to young people, in particular through our online national youth survey.

More than 50 per cent of the young people who completed Labor’s survey said the biggest barrier to being part of decision making in politics was feeling they won’t be taken seriously or listened to at all.

By failing to engage with young people on the issues and policies designed to help them, the government’s programs specifically for young people have continually and spectacularly failed - including JobMaker, the Youth PaTH program, and the Youth Taskforce.

It is clear there is a two-way benefit to involving young Australians in policy making - young people need and deserve a say on the issues that impact them, and government needs the input of young people to develop successful youth policies.

That is why an Albanese Labor Government will introduce a new youth engagement model, to provide a voice and structure for younger Australians to directly engage with government and contribute to policy development.

If elected, an Albanese Labor Government will:-

  • Establish a framework to directly and formally engage with young Australians on an ongoing basis.
  • Establish an Office for Youth so that, rather than youth engagement being an afterthought or duplicating functions across departments, there is a dedicated unit within government to feed in the contribution from young people and advocates, improve and harmonise policy across government, and ensure government is communicating effectively with young people.
  • Commit to a Minister for Youth to improve and facilitate a holistic response across portfolios on issues affecting young Australians.

The new framework will involve a number of strategies to provide a channel for direct communication between young Australians and the Federal Government. 

The framework will be driven by a steering committee of up to 15 young people, under the direction of the Minister for Youth and Office for Youth. 

However engagement will go beyond the committee, by incorporating local forums, workshops, and town halls for young Australians to directly engage in debate and offer their perspectives and ideas. 

The new model will also aim to conduct annual youth summits to encourage young Australians across the country to participate in debating and shaping government policy. 

Younger Australians have suffered a disproportionate impact from COVID-19 on their employment prospects, financial security, and social wellbeing.

Yet the Coalition Government continues to ignore the voices of young Australians and leave them out of the decisions that disproportionately affect their future. 

Labor is committed to genuine, ongoing and two-way engagement with young Australians, and ensuring they have a voice in an Albanese Labor Government.  

Labor Party