YOUTH CONNECTIONS CUTS HURT WESTERN AUSTRALIA

TUESDAY, 5 AUGUST 2014
 

More young Western Australians will fail to finish year 12 and struggle to get a job if Tony Abbott continues with his plan to abolish all federal youth unemployment prevention services in Western Australia.

 

The Government's recent Budget cut funding to Youth Connections, Partnership Brokers and National Career Advice - all of the federal programs that help young people finish Year 12, get work experience and understand their options for the future.

 

Kate Ellis, Shadow Minister for Education, and Samantha Rowe, Member of the Legislative Council for the Eastern Metropolitan Region, visited Rise Community Support Network in Middle Swan today to see life-changing Youth Connections services in action, and hear first-hand about the community impact of their impending closure at the end of this year.

 

"Cutting services that help young Western Australians finish Year 12 and get a job is counterproductive, and downright stupid," Kate Ellis said.

 

"Tony Abbott has left thousands of young Western Australians to slip between the cracks - it's as simple as that."

 

Youth Connections has helped almost 100,000 young Australians, including 7,500 Western Australians since 2010. Recent analysis shows the program has an 80 per cent success rate, 70 per cent of participants are in regional areas and 25 per cent of the young Western Australians who benefit from the program are Indigenous.

 

"Services across 15 regions that cover all of the West will be lost," Samantha Rowe said.

 

"Young people and their families will simply have nowhere to turn if they are struggling to finish school, or need work experience and advice."

 

After initially saying that a new tender for Job Services Australia would provide unemployment prevention services for young Australians, the Government reneged just last week.

 

"It was nothing but a cruel trick and nasty mirage to string along our young people and the hard working professionals who run these services," Kate Ellis said.

 

Kate Ellis and Samantha Rowe said time was running out to prevent these services closing at the end of the year, and called on members of the Abbott Government to reverse these cuts.

 

"Like Liberals and Nationals right around the country, Ken Wyatt, the local member here, has simply sat on his hands while Tony Abbott has ripped the carpet out from under his local community,” Kate Ellis said.

 

At the same time as scrapping youth unemployment prevention programs, Tony Abbott is planning to cut young Australians off unemployment benefits, no matter how hard they are trying to build skills and get a job.

 

"How can Tony Abbott expect young Western Australians to be job ready if he is taking these services away?" Samantha Rowe said.

 

"If Colin Barnett and his federal political mates don't stand up for local communities, we will all pay the price through welfare dependency, more unemployment, and even increased crime."