Wednesday, 12 February 2020
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Youth and Sport, Senator Colbeck. Can the minister outline how the Morrison government's plan to build a stronger economy is ensuring young Australians are given the best opportunity to succeed?
Thank you to Senator Chandler for her question. The coalition strives to ensure maximum opportunity for younger Australians, with the best available opportunities in education and employment, and the most appropriate assistance for those who require some help or are in a crisis. The government's focus is for young people, to support them to be healthy, active and engaged participants in society and the economy.
As our first step, we've established a youth task force, and as minister one of the most enjoyable things as part of my portfolio has actually been engaging with young people and the organisations that represent them—organisations such as Youth Activating Youth, an organisation based out of Victoria that is assisting disadvantaged multicultural young Australians to re-engineer their lives and their commitments. Year13 is a socially driven organisation connecting young Australians with all of the options available after high school and beyond. Today we welcome the winners of the Heywire regional youth program, which is being conducted by the ABC, to the parliament. One of the real pleasures has been to hear their ideas, their stories and how we can work with them to improve Australia and their activities.
At the end of last year I announced that we would fund the 2020 Australian Youth Development Index. The Australian Youth Affairs Coalition will undertake this work, and it is essential to provide key information to inform the evidence on the status of youth development in Australia.
Again I thank Senator Chandler for her question. The Australian government is focused on getting more young Australians off welfare and into work. We recognise that the best way to do that is to build a strong economy that enables employers to be more productive, more competitive and more innovative, and to create more job opportunities. As Senator Birmingham has just said, the bringing into force of the Peru free trade agreement overnight is just one of those initiatives.
We funded the Youth Jobs PaTH program, which Labor fought tooth and nail. They opposed it. More than 88½ thousand young people have participated, with 56,000 of them getting a job. Five hundred and eighty million dollars through the Transition to Work program helped disadvantaged young people to transition from education— (Time expired)
Thank you, Senator Chandler. This is one of the signature initiatives of the coalition government: a $509 million youth mental health and suicide prevention plan, the largest suicide prevention strategy in Australia's history. We all talk about our aspiration to get suicide to zero, and this government is actually investing in that. And we've also done that off the bat of the bushfire tragedy that has been occurring in south-east Australia recently. We've put $8 million to extend Beyond Blue's 'Be You' mental health and education program for schools to those who are involved in recovery from the bushfires. We've put an extra $4.4 million to fast tracking the establishment of a new headspace in Batemans Bay. Our government is ensuring Australians and their families get access to the best care and support when they need it.