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Byron Shire
February 3, 2023

North coast youth lose vital service

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The closure of the national youth support program, Youth Connections, means our region’s most vulnerable teenagers are at risk of harm.

Youth Connections helps disengaged 14 to 18-year-olds reconnect with education, work or training and is delivered to Far North Coast locals in partnership with NORTEC Youth Services
, Byron Youth Services
and Youth Connections North Coast in Lismore. Programs are delivered to young people in the Tweed, Byron, Ballina, Lismore, Richmond Valley and Kyogle shires.

In the May budget, the federal government withdrew funding for the initiative, meaning centres across Australia will close by the end of this month.

The government has not allocated any funds to any similar or replacement program, meaning this will be the first time in 20 years there is no federally-funded program to assist young people to re-engage with pathways to future work and education.

The federal government is seeking to make budget savings at the expense of supporting our most vulnerable people and this will have damaging fall out for our local youth.

The Youth Connections program and other programs that help transition young people out of unemployment and into lasting and meaningful work are a vital support for our far north coast young people.

Young people across Australia, especially those who are disadvantaged, will miss out on vital support provided by the Youth Connections program.

An all-party Senate Committee Report tabled in the final days of federal parliament has warned that inequality and poverty will worsen in Australia under the Abbott government’s current budget plans.

The report, Bridging our growing divide: inequality in Australia, says the harsh approach of the federal budget will push more people into poverty and disadvantage and calls for many of its more punitive measures to be abandoned.

According to the report, current government policy and in particular the 2014–15 budget will disproportionately and negatively impact people living on low incomes.

Much of the evidence showed that the likely impact of the Budget measures will be to exacerbate income inequality and poverty in Australia, the report said.

Dawn Walker, Greens federal spokesperson for Tweed

 

 


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