The economic impacts of COVID-19 are falling disproportionately on young people. To help address this, the ACT Government will provide more support for children, young people, and their families experiencing difficulties.
Younger Canberrans are more likely to have their employment prospects impacted by COVID-19. The ACT Government recognises this and is implementing new policies to create and protect local jobs for younger Canberrans and ensure that people aren’t slipping through the cracks during this time.
The Government will offer a six-month payroll tax exemption for businesses who take on new or additional apprentices or trainees. This is a targeted effort in partnership with the private sector to create more job opportunities for school leavers and those looking to develop new skills.
The ACT Public Service graduate, cadet and apprenticeship program will also be extended to provide more positions over the next two years. We anticipate employing around 120 graduates, cadets and apprentices during this period.
There will also be recruitment of hundreds of new young teachers, police, firefighters, ambulance officers, nurses, doctors and allied health professionals in the coming years.
The impacts of social isolation on young Canberrans is another significant concern for the Government. That’s why we will be increasing the investment in targeted mental health support for young people. This program builds on the Mental Health Support Package previously announced as part of the economic survival package.
The ACT Government will also provide a $1.7 million Children, Young People and their Families Package to help ease the financial stress for young carers, foster and kinship carers and young people. The package includes one off payments to non-government service providers to help them deliver services.
We know the pandemic isn’t over, and there is more work to do. We want to keep working every day to protect health and livelihoods of our community – particularly those that are facing significant hardship.
Youth support package
The ACT Government’s Youth Support Package will provide:
- A six-month payroll tax exemption for businesses who pay wages for new employees who are apprentices or trainees. The exemption would apply to six months of wages for eligible employees recruited between 1 August 2020 to 31 January 2021. It is estimated that this will result in $2.2 million of foregone revenue.
- A $2 million extension of the ACT Public Service graduate program to provide additional graduate positions over the next two years, including cadet and apprentice recruitment.
- An additional $250,000 for targeted mental health support for young people. This program builds on the Mental Health Support Package previously announced as part of the economic survival package.
Supporting children, young people and their families package
The Supporting Children, Young People and their Families Package includes:
- one-off payments of $300 for each child and young person in foster and kinship care to support the wellbeing of young people and help ease the financial stress for carers whose employment or income may have been affected during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- an extended carer subsidy for young people in out of home care who turn 18 this year to support living expenses, housing costs or connect them with training and employment.
- funding to support young carers to meet additional expenses, maintain wellbeing and support educational participation.
- one-off grant payments to non-government service providers to assist with direct service delivery, brokerage and support for young people and their families to respond to increased demand for services.