Main content area

Australian youth - carrying the burden?

Australian youth - carrying the burden?

Recently, there has been a lot of commentary in the media highlighting difficult times ahead for Australia’s youth with rising unemployment, high homelessness rates, cut-backs to community services etc. Many organisations are warning of the seriousness of the situation.


Here is an article by Matt Wordsworth on ABC News: ’Welfare groups warn of tough times as youth unemployment skyrockets’. See also: ’Why rising youth unemployment demands our urgent attention’ by Ken Henry, The Conversation.

Parliament of Australia has released a guide to youth unemployment: Labour stats 101 youth unemployment: a quick guide

Financial exclusion

Pro Bono Australia News reports on high levels of financial exclusion for young people.

According to the annual Measuring Financial Exclusion in Australia report, a significant number of young and working Australians are unable to access mainstream finance. More than three million adult Australians don’t have access to a moderate amount of credit, a basic transaction account or don’t have general insurance.

The report also found that of the three million financially excluded Australians, 35 per cent are young people aged 18 to 24 and more than 40 per cent are in employment.

Youth homelessness

Youth Homelessness: NSW has more young people experiencing homelessness than any other state. We must prevent homelessness and provide safe, stable and affordable housing if we are committed to supporting young people to achieve positive outcomes.

The Youth Action (the Youth Action & Policy Association) NSW is the peak organisation representing young people and youth services in NSW. Their website has information about the issues facing young people in NSW.

The Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC) have expressed deep concern at proposals to deprive young people of payments and employment services, that would make it harder for them to get ahead, especially those with no family support or from low income families.

AYAC may themselves be forced to shut down The organisation, with a 30-year history of national youth affairs representation, will run out of Commonwealth funding on June 30.

The Law and Justice Foundation of NSW in research into unmet legal needs in Australia identified young people as a particularly vulnerable group:

’… the findings show a higher vulnerability to legal problems for younger people compared to the oldest age group. Also in keeping with past research, different ages or life stages were associated with different types of legal problems. Accidents, crime, personal injury and rights problems peaked either at 15–17 or 18-24 years. In addition, younger people were less likely to seek advice from professionals for their legal problems.’

For legal information on the many areas that may be relevant to young people, from family law, renting, employment, credit and debt, discrimination and criminal law, visit the Find Legal Answers website.