Budget 2017: a missed opportunity to back young Australians

Budget 2017: a missed opportunity to back young Australians

The Federal Government has missed an opportunity to invest in Australia’s economic future, by failing to back young people in the 2017/18 Budget.

Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) CEO, Jan Owen AM said further investment in needs-based education funding through Gonski 2.0 and support to young parents into the workforce through expansion of the ParentsNext initiative is welcome. However, the 2017 Budget has glaring omissions when it comes to building young Australians’ skills and capabilities to thrive in an increasingly complex world of work.

“If young people are to take up the challenge of growing an economy with an ageing population, and navigating a changing world that is more complex, global and flexible, they will need to be innovative, creative and enterprising,” Ms Owen said.

“The Budget failed to acknowledge that our current education models is not preparing young Australians for work. As FYA’s research highlights while young people are now staying in education longer, it is taking them an average of 4.7 years after finishing to find a full-time job.”

“With up to 31.5% of young people aged 15-24 unemployed or underemployed we need to be investing in a national enterprise skills and careers management strategy to better to prepare young people for the changing world of work. We also need to prepare young people to be more entrepreneurial and innovative so that they can be job creators, not just job seekers.”

Ms Owen said that while initiatives aimed at increasing access to affordable housing were welcome, changes to the HECs-debt recovery system as well as increased university fees would place undue economic pressure on young Australians, and reduce their likelihood of ever owning a home.

“Over the past 30 years young Australians have seen only marginal increases in their pay packets compared to their older counterparts,” she said.

“Further, a 3-year bachelor degree also now costs 2.5 times more than it did in 1991 and changes to HECS-debt recovery are likely to exacerbate rising debt for young Australians.

These issues once again remind us that today’s young Australians are set to be the first generation to be worse off than their parents.”

FYA strongly believes that we need renewed, comprehensive and inter-generational investment in Australia’s young people. Such an investment would encompass:

  • A ‘nation building’ focused education strategy to redesign the learning system from pre-school through higher education (and beyond);
  • A new skills, training, careers education and real jobs commitment to young Australians; and
  • A promise and plan for the equitable intergenerational transfer of knowledge, resources and power in the new economy.


For all media enquiries please contact FYA Media Manager, Shona McPherson via 0407 507 580.


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