Young people will have more say on the issues that matter to them under a significant funding package today unveiled by the Morrison Government.
The Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC) will be strengthened in its role as a national peak body advocating to the Commonwealth to ensure the needs of young people are on the national agenda.
Minister for Youth and Sport, Richard Colbeck said eight youth organisations will share in an investment of $900,000 to give Australian youth a greater voice.
“The Australian Government is working hard to ensure young people have a platform to voice their concerns about the issues that affect them,” Minister Colbeck said.
“Prime Minister Scott Morrison said it would be my role to provide a strong voice for issues facing young Australians.
“These funding measures are ensuring we deliver on that promise.
AYAC will receive a $150,000 injection to boost its efforts to underline the issues affecting youth and to encourage wider participation.
In addition to funding the national peak, another seven organisations will receive grants totalling $750,000.
The funded groups will also act as a youth advocacy network with projects spanning a variety of youth demographics across vast geographic areas from the city to regional, rural and remote communities.
The projects will have a strong focus on supporting marginalised young Australians including those with a disability, those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, young carers, young people with mental illness and the gender diverse.
Leadership and advocacy skills will be a key feature of a number of funded projects with a strong focus on empowerment and development.
Minister Colbeck said the grants mark an important milestone after a difficult year.
“These grants will ensure the voices of young Australians from all walks of life, are heard in the policymaking process,” he said.
“The Australian Government seeks to develop policies that will make a difference to young lives regardless of their background.
“This is vital. Young people are our future.”
Grant recipients have welcomed the funding.
Australian Youth Affairs Coalition co-chair James McDougall said: “(This funding) will help to ensure young people’s views and interests are taken into account in developing national youth policy.
“Young people want to be part of building solutions particularly as we emerge from the impacts of COVID-19. Their diverse lived experiences will enrich our understanding and they will guide us to build a fairer and more inclusive Australian society.”
Little Dreamers Australia chief executive officer Madeleine Buchner OAM said: “We’re super excited to receive funding for the Young Carer Advocacy Project. This funding will change the landscape for young carer support and will give vulnerable young people a voice on a national platform.”
NT Council of Social Service policy manager Sarah Holder said: “For the first time young people experiencing disadvantage and marginalisation in the Northern Territory will have a direct voice to Government.
“This project will enrich the national conversation and is a major indication that the Australian Government is committed to hearing from young Territorians.”
Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network Australia national manager Nadine Liddy said: “(This funding) recognises the importance of a targeted approach to facilitate the participation of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds in Federal Government policy making processes.
“Through a range of capacity building activities, Amplifying CALD Youth Voices will ensure that CALD youth across Australia have their voices heard on issues affecting them and their future. We are excited to be working with the Australian government in this exciting work.”
CREATE Foundation influence manager Noelle Hudson said: “This investment allows the voices of young people with a care experience to directly inform key policy development and decision making processes.
“We look forward bringing young people from across Australia together to form the National Youth Advisory Group that will provide a streamlined gateway for the views of young people to be heard, and inform decisions made by the Australian Government and key decision makers.
Children and Young People with a Disability Australia chief executive officer Mary Sayers said: “We are delighted to receive funding from the Australian Government for the Our voices our visions: a bright future for young people with disability project.
“This funding will mean young people with disability can be at the centre of policy and reform about the issues that matter most to them.”
yourtown head of advocacy and research Kathryn Mandla said: “(We) look forward to engaging with young people across Australia in 2021 via a range of digital and face to face channels to gain their views and insights.
“The Youth Advocacy Support Grant will enable yourtown to elevate the voices of young people to inform Government policy on issues that affect or concern them. 2020 has been a tough year for many young people and this grant will provide them with an opportunity to share their experiences to help us meet their needs into the future.”
YMCA chief executive Melinda Crole said: “After a year that has impacted the lives of young Australians so significantly, this grant will enable us at the Y to elevate the voice of young people and ensure their views and experiences directly inform the policy decisions that will shape their future career opportunities.
“Young people are the experts in their own lives and this grant will help us to ensure young people are at the centre of our economic recovery.”
The funding will commence in late 2020 and be complete by mid-2021.
Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network Australia
Amplifying CALD Youth Voices
Children and Young People with Disability Australia
Our voices our visions: a bright future for young people with disability
Empowering youth voice – economic participation and employment pathways
CREATE Foundation Limited
National Youth Advisory Group
Little Dreamers Australia
Young Carer Advocacy Project
NT Council of Social Services
Youth Voice NT
Australian Youth Affairs Coalition
National Youth Policy Project