The incoming Cabinet announced September 16th will not include a Minister for Youth, nor has a dedicated youth portfolio been mentioned.
This disappointing omission carries the risk of young people’s issues not being addressed effectively by the new government.
The best way to ensure that policies and actions can actually work well is to work with those affected when developing them. The voices of young people are too often not heard, so we need dedicated strategies to ensure that they are around the table.
A dedicated Ministerial portfolio enables a strong profile for youth issues, direct links with young people and the youth sector, solid relationships and a depth of expertise in Government.
At the same time, we also know that the issues that affect young people cut across all portfolios. Young people are just as much a part of the employment, health, justice and immigration portfolios as other people, but are affected in specific ways.
There are benefits and challenges associated with both a dedicated youth portfolio and a mainstreaming approach that addresses the issues of young people within all portfolios.
Generally, a combination works best: targeted, dedicated strategies – like a dedicated portfolio – combined with mainstreaming across government will ensure that the issues affecting young people are effectively addressed.
AYAC looks forward to working with all Ministers, all portfolios and all parts of Government to ensure that they have the direct links to young people and the youth sector and access to the expertise that they need to make a positive difference for all young people in Australia.