Youth program funding

Minister’s Statement

I rise to update the house on the continued investment that the Andrews Labor government is making to support and engage young people in Victoria. Our government believes that every young person should have the opportunities and support that they need to reach their full potential. We recognise that many young people face disadvantage and have a range of diverse needs.

This is why I am proud that the Andrews Labor government is providing a further $2 million over four years to expand the Empower Youth program in this year’s state budget. This will enable more young people to achieve their goals by providing them with pathways to employment, education, training and community engagement. This funding boost will allow more organisations to support disengaged young people, particularly in areas with high levels of socio‑economic disadvantage and crime, through dedicated youth workers and connections with community mentors.

We have also allocated $5.2 million as part of a whole‑of‑government initiative targeting youth offending to put in place a number of early intervention programs, including the establishment and operation of three community support groups which will use a community‑led approach to engage young people and their families and respond to local issues associated with youth disengagement. There are over a million young people under the age of 24 in Victoria who are contributing positively to our state every day, and we are absolutely committed to continuing to support young people and youth agencies across Victoria, recognising that young people are the future of our state.

I do express my great disappointment that there is no federal Minister for Youth Affairs. This is why we have seen in the federal Turnbull government budget only cuts to activities involving young people — cuts to TAFE that will impact on young people, the scrapping of National Youth Week, cuts to the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition and nothing to invest in the young people of our future.