The Federal Government has missed a vital opportunity to invest in Australia’s future by failing to find long term solutions to the challenges facing young people in the 2019 Federal Budget according to the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA).
FYA CEO Jan Owen AM said while Budget measures to address skill development and increase young people’s employability in the Budget were welcome, it lacked a comprehensive framework for delivering the skills of today and tomorrow.
“The announcement of a $525m skills package, including the creation of 80,000 new apprenticeships and significant funding of vocational and education training opportunities, is a promising sign of Australia’s commitment to preparing young people for the future of work,” Owen said.
“However with 70% of young people currently learning skills that will be redundant by 2030, we need urgent policy reform and investment a nationally coordinated framework so we are all moving in the same direction.”
Analysis released by FYA earlier this year revealed that despite an investment of $91 billion in education and training annually, almost 1 in 3 young Australians are unemployed or underemployed. This high rate of youth unemployment is a lost opportunity for the Australian economy of more than $4.5 billion each year and diminishing the prospects of a generation of young people.
“There is now a critical mass of employer groups, economists, academics and graduates calling for urgent policy reform to ensure our young Australians have the skills required to navigate our changing economy and job market.”
“There is no evidence in this Budget that this is understood as one of the most significant issues we must address to prepare young people for the future of work,” Owen said.
Owen added the lack of focus on key issues including climate change, housing affordability and a failure to increase Centrelink payments like Newstart or Youth Allowance puts young people’s future at risk.
FYA’s Future Skills Framework 2030 outlines how Australian governments can work with young people, industry, educational institutions and leading thinkers across the country to move from talk to action. It is a practical strategy that spells out how government can work with young people and all the other key players to develop a coordinated response to this looming crisis.
The three key Budget takeaways that did resonate with young people included:
- $93.7 million over four years from 2019-20 for scholarships for students to study at a regional campus of a university or vocational education training provider;
- $461 million for youth mental health and suicide prevention; and
- $111 million for 30 new headspace services by 2030.
With the Federal Election to be called in a matter of days FYA is calling on all sitting members and candidates to demonstrate how they are planning to address the issues that matter most to young people.
For more information please contact Shona McPherson via 0407 507 580.