August 6, 2010

National Strategy for Young Australians

Young people aged 12-24 make up a fifth of our population. They are valuable now and the way they develop influences the type of adults they will become. The Minister for Youth, the Hon Kate Ellis MP launched the National Strategy for Young Australians on 14 April 2010. It will be used as a guide for future Government action to encourage and help young people take charge of their own lives.  It describes what it’s like to grow up in Australia today as young Australians – the positives as well as the challenges – and outlines the eight areas in which the Australian Government will focus its attention.
Addressing New Challenges 
The challenges of growing up span generations and cultures, however every generation also faces their own specific challenges. For this current generation, being young involves tackling some unprecedented challenges including climate change, terrorism, ageing societies and infrastructure, changing job markets, technological advances, the increasing influence of popular culture and changing family and social structures.

The Priorities

The Strategy aims to:
1. Empower young people to build their own lives
2. Enable young Australians to learn to take responsibility for their actions
3. Build resilience in young Australians to navigate life’s challenges
4. Build a healthier, safer and more productive Australia

These aims recognise that there are multiple influences on young people’s lives including having supportive and healthy relationships with the important people in their lives, and being able to access and thrive in education and work. Equally influential are personal qualities and skills like confidence and optimistic thinking, enjoying stable and secure living arrangements, and feeling a sense of connection and belonging within families, communities and to the wider society.

To achieve this vision, the Strategy focuses on eight priorities for supporting young people to succeed and build lives of their own choosing:
1. Improving the health and wellbeing of all young people
Young people’s health and wellbeing, whether physical, emotional or mental, is crucial to their later life outcomes and is vital for Australia’s future.
2. Equipping young Australians to shape their own futures through education
The Government’s Education Revolution has already begun important work in this area- setting a reform agenda to create an education system that supports all young people to maximise their opportunities.
3. Supporting young Australians within their families
Being part of a strong family unit is crucial to a young person’s self esteem, safety, development and wellbeing.
A recurrent theme was the need to educate parents on issues facing young people today. Some parents and carers expressed their frustration at not understanding the electronically-driven world in which their children were maturing. There was a call for specific education, resources and tools to help parents support their young people. Australian Government supports parents to connect with and understand their children as they get older through the $2 million Raising Children Website
4. Empowering young Australians to take part and be active in their communities
Communities are where we grow and live. Communities can also develop around shared interests that cross physical boundaries. For many young people communities exist, at least partly, in the online environment. Feeling empowered within communities will allow young people opportunities to contribute, develop a sense of achievement and develop networks and skills to support them in other areas of life.
5. Equipping young Australians with the skills and personal networks they need to gain, and be successful, in employment
Being in work is critically important for individuals as well as the broader economy. Having paid work contributes to a person’s sense of identity, connectedness and wellbeing, and is an opportunity to connect with others and participate in society. This generation of young people face some additional challenges in the current global economic conditions and the ageing population. The Government will continue to support young people to find and keep employment.
6. Enabling young Australians to participate confidently and safely online

The online environment is a place for young people to learn, connect with peers, develop networks and have fun. While it offers the opportunity for young people to access knowledge and to network, there are risks that need to be addressed to ensure the online environment is safe and accessible for all.
7. Strengthening early intervention with young Australians to help prevent any problems getting worse and to help young people get their lives back on track
Intervening early is recognised as a good practice approach to addressing a range of social problems, including educational disengagement, risk taking behaviours and mental and physical health issues. Some young people suggested that staring programs for youth from the age of 12 would help early intervention and prevention programs from being implemented too late in a young person’s lifecycle. The Australian Government will continue to support effective early intervention services for young people.
8. Establishing clear cut legal consequences for behaviours that endanger the safety of others
Young people are more likely to become victims of some violent crimes including sexual offences and assaults and almost a quarter of young people feel unsafe walking alone at night. A minority of young people endanger the safety of others through harmful, anti-social and unacceptable behaviour. The Government is working to ensure for this minority, there are clear cut legal consequences to make the community safe for everyone, and break the cycle of reoffending.

Through the Strategy the Australian Government will support young Australians. The Strategy encourages us to work together to create a society where young people are valued and encouraged and where they can look after each other, have fun, change the world and take charge of their own lives. Enough is Enough supports these strategies and encourages the Government to do more than just talk and document its direction, but to acually act in partnership with NGO's to produce the outcomes required.

The National Strategy for Young Australians  is available at
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HSC Legal Studies - Journey Towards Justice Day
10th November 2010
Wesley Conference Centre, 220 Pitt St, Sydney
$15.00 per attendee (not incl. transport)
Journey Towards Justice 1 day Seminar is an invaluable tool for HSC Legal studies students and teachers and is not to be missed! They will learn how the NSW Legal System works from leading professionals with first hand knowledge, contrasted with the contradictions of that system presented by those who have experienced some of the consequences including Police and Victims.
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