A new report card from the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) highlights the unique challenges faced by Australia’s young people and the economic cost of them being left behind.
The latest update to FYA’s report Renewing Australia’s Promise shows that if youth unemployment and underemployment were brought in line with the rest of the population, it would generate up to $11.3bn additional GDP for Australia.
FYA CEO Jan Owen AM said the report card shows very little has changed since it was first released in 2014 owing to a lack of action from government.
“A lack of investment from government means young Australians today are facing a very real possibility that their generation will be the first to be worse off than their parents,” Ms Owen said.
“This report card shows us that while young people are doing well in some areas, they face a number of escalating challenges that are unique to their generation.
“They are also paying much more for their education than previous generations, yet this is not properly preparing them for work.
“Further, their pay packets have received smaller increases than older age groups and they’re are also taking on more debt to buy a house and are bearing the costs of an ageing population.”
The Foundation for Young Australians is calling on all political parties to invest in the next generation by placing young people at the heart of economic policy and equipping them to drive social and economic progress in Australia for decades to come.
“Australia’s young people are the engine that will drive future prosperity. They’re hungry for the chance to create a better world,” Ms Owen said.
“The recent spike in young people enrolling to vote shows us that they are engaged in the political process and do want to have a say on issues that impact them.
“Leaders from all parties need to start listening to them and take action to equip young people for the challenges they face. We need to ensure they are ready to take Australia and the world forward.
“Policies around young people are too often considered in isolation and placed at the edge of public policy.
“Before this story gets worse, our nation’s leaders must commit to investing in the next generation by placing young people at the center of economic policy.”
The Foundation for Young Australians has developed an election platform which provides clear steps that can be taken by government to begin their investment in young people.
This includes a national enterprise skills strategy, development of a coordinated national ecosystem to back young entrepreneurs and creation of regional hubs for youth-led economic development.
To read a copy of Renewing Australia’s Promise: 2016 Report Card click here. FYA’s election platform can be read here.