VCOSS welcomes calls by the Senate Select Committee into the Abbott Government’s Budget Cuts to reinstate funding for Youth Connections and abandon proposed changes to Newstart.
“This Senate report provides more evidence that the Federal Government has taken the wrong approach when it comes to tackling youth unemployment,” said Emma King, CEO of VCOSS.
“The cuts and changes proposed in last year’s Budget will exacerbate poverty and disadvantage and must be abandoned.”
“Since 2010 the federally funded Youth Connections program has been highly successful in assisting vulnerable young people to transition through education and into work. It provides the intensive, case-managed support that helps vulnerable young people become job-ready.”
“Every year, Youth Connections assists around 30,000 young Australians who are at risk of disengaging from education, training or employment. It has demonstrated an extraordinary success rate in keeping at-risk young people engaged and has been shown to be far more effective than other initiatives such as the Federal Government’s preferred Work for the dole scheme.”
“In Victoria we know that Youth Connections provides vital support to young people across the community. It has had particular success working with young people in areas of concentrated disadvantage, including growth areas on Melbourne’s fringe and in rural and regional Victoria.”
“The decision by the Federal Government to cut all funding for this program has left a significant gap in services for young people in Victoria. Given we are seeing youth unemployment rates of up to 20 per cent in some areas these cuts should be reversed.”
“Changes to Newstart, including punitive measures proposed in last year’s Budget that would force young people off allowances for six months of every year, should also be abandoned according to the Senate report.
“The Committee warned that, if adopted, the changes to Newstart would increase unemployment and poverty among young people, place extra burden on overstretched community services, and will lead to more people being turned away from support services. They would also cost the Commonwealth more over the long term.”