A strong focus on working with young people when forming the policies and programs that affect them is a critical step to ensuring an equitable and strong Australia.
A promise of $10.5 million in funding over the next four years for the establishment of an Office for Youth, and the development of a new Youth Engagement Strategy, will greatly assist governments and communities to support young people as they face the challenges today’s globalised world holds for them.
Young people are facing rising levels of unemployment and underemployment, housing stress and mental health difficulties. At the same time, technology is playing an increasing role in young people's lives, offering opportunities but also potentially exacerbating existing problems. Yet young people are ready to face these challenges head on and want to take part in the conversation to secure their own bright futures.
“Young & Resilient’s research over the past decade has found that young people are knowledgeable, concerned and interested in many policy debates and have ideas about how policy should address the many complex issues we face as a community,” says Associate Professor Philippa Collin, Young & Resilient Co-director.
“Leading the Wellbeing Health & Youth (WH&Y) Commission, we have also seen first-hand how collaboration with young people results in the development of successful strategies. The WH&Y Commission is a platform for young Australians from different backgrounds, with vastly different lived experiences, to change the way young people’s health is researched and delivered in Australia by meaningfully engaging young people and channelling their insights into better policy and practices.
“The Government’s announcement of advisory groups to work on policies and programs provides hope to young people, who have been invisible in policy development for far too long. Working with young people, hearing their voices, and channelling their experiences to form policy is a step in the right direction.”
“The proposed steering committee of young people, working together with their peers and youth advocates, will be vital to creating an effective Youth Engagement Strategy,” says Ms Lilly Moody, Young & Resilient Centre Manager.
“Consulting children and young people to co-design solutions has been critical Young & Resilient’s work. Our team led the largest consultation with children in history to inform a General Comment for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). As a result of our methods and partnerships, children whose voices are not ordinarily heard are informing international governance mechanisms.
“Australian researchers have a wealth of expertise in youth engagement, which is already recognised internationally. We’re excited to see a Government that is taking strides to connect with experts to set the national agenda. Many excellent researchers have already worked with young people to create so much knowledge, it is just waiting to be activated.”
“As an independent young person, this is a welcome reform,” says Dominique Rose, WH&Y Commissioner.
“Youth allowance is still $30 below the poverty line and with the increasing cost of living, it’s no wonder so many young people are struggling,” adds Dominique. “I am glad that young people will be in direct consultation, I hope this engagement is a genuine partnership.”
The Young & Resilient Research Centre commends the Government’s move to centre young people’s experiences, research and expert advice in Australian policy development, and looks forward to working together in the coming years to build resilience and create a brighter future for all Australians.