Abbott Fails Young Australians With Halfhearted Announcement

Labor has called on the Abbott Government to reinstate the successful unemployment prevention programs for young Australians it cut in the Budget, after Tony Abbott’s tokenistic policy announcements today.

Tony Abbott has cut $130 million out of programs designed to help young Australians stay in school, vocational education or work, including the highly successful Youth Connections program which was helping over 25,000 students a year.

Now we have this piecemeal announcement from the Prime Minister that is designed to help only 3,000 people in only a very limited number of areas around the country.

“Under Labor the Youth Connections program, Partnership Brokers program and the National Career Advice service were each helping educate, train and secure work experience for young Australians,” Shadow Assistant Minister for Education Amanda Rishworth said.

“Youth Connections alone was helping over 25,000 young Australians a year stay in school, further training or employment.

“This announcement will barely reach 10 per cent of young Australians who were given a first start and a fair go under just one of the successful programs cut in the Budget.

“First Tony Abbott abandons young Australians with his budget of broken promises, and then thinks a vastly scaled back pale imitation of Labor’s successful policies will serve as a quick fix.

“There are no details about where this money is coming from, or what the Government might cut to fund it.

“If Tony Abbott were serious about combatting youth unemployment he would scrap this dud of a policy and bring back Labor’s successful programs including Youth Connections,” Ms Rishworth said.

The Government has not provided any details for the Training for Employment Scholarship programme except that unemployed people aged between 18 and 24 will be eligible to receive funding for 26 weeks of training.

“Will young people in this program receive quality, accredited training to give them portable skills?” Shadow Minister for Vocational Education Sharon Bird asked. 

“Will this programme be targeted at industries with skills shortages to ensure that jobs will be available to these young people after their 26 weeks of training?

“We need more details than two lines in a press release to find out whether our young jobseekers will be provided with training which will help them on their path to a good career or training for training’s sake,” Ms Bird said.