Budget Tells Young People ‘You are on your own’ – Joint media release

Yesterday’s federal budget places unemployed young people in the firing line, severely reducing their access to income support and making a rise in youth poverty and homelessness a real danger. Unemployed young people will now have to wait six months before receiving any income support, which will only be available if they participate in 25 hours a week of ‘Work for the Dole’.

The Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC) and the state and territory youth peak bodies have collectively criticised the Federal Budget as a budget that unfairly targets and punishes young people.

AYAC Chairperson Craig Comrie said this budget condemns vulnerable young people to “a future of uncertainty and poverty”.

“These measures seem based on the assumption that parents can continue to support an unemployed son or daughter until the age of 29,” Mr Comrie commented.

“But for many families this is not the case. Where is the evidence that these punishing new measures will increase the availability of jobs to young people?”

The Government will introduce compulsory activities for recipients of the Disability Support Pension (DSP) under 35 years of age who have an assessed work capacity of at least eight hours a week. DSP recipients aged under 35 who were granted eligibility between 2008-11, and who have an assessed work capacity of at least eight hours a week, will also have their eligibility reviewed.

There is an expectation that this will result in young people with disabilities being moved onto Newstart or Youth Allowance instead. This could mean a reduction to their income by nearly $130 a week – a significant cut.

“Young people with a disability are already much less likely to complete a Year 12 qualification than those without a disability,” Mr Comrie pointed out.

“And the unemployment rate of people with a disability has stayed steady at around 50% since 2003. It is not that young people with a disability don’t want to work; they have been shut out of the workforce through poor educational access and employer discrimination.”

Caps on university course costs will also be removed from 2016, enabling universities to set their own fees.

At this same time the extreme measures have been introduced the National Peak Body for young people and the sector has been defunded.

“We found out today that our organisation is also one of the casualties of the Budget – the Government is making it harder and harder for young people to have a voice”

For Comment

Craig Comrie, Chairperson of AYAC and CEO of the Youth Affairs Council of WA – 0405 972 978

Georgie Ferrari – CEO of the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria – 0411 484 428

Jo Siejka – CEO of the Youth Network of Tasmania – 0458 235 511

Emily Jones – Managing Director of Youth Action NSW – 0451 535 250

Emma Robertson – Director of the Youth Coalition of the ACT – 0422 665 469

Anne Bainbridge –  Executive Director of the Youth Affairs Council of South Australia – 08 8211 7546

Siyavash Doostkah – Director of the Youth Affairs Network of Queensland – 0407 655 785