Shaping the Future: A new approach to policy that works for young people

Australia’s leading social scientists, together with young people, representatives from the youth sector and policy makers have united to explore the development of a national framework for policy that works for young people.

The Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, together with the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC) and Monash Centre for Youth Policy and Education Practice (CYPEP), convened key stakeholders, youth researchers and policy makers to discuss the pressing issues that are currently facing young Australians.

The policy roundtable, which was held in Canberra, was an opportunity to start a nationally significant conversation about shaping the future with young people and exploring new approaches to policy that addresses three key themes; belonging, wellbeing and security.

In some key ways, Australia is behind many other nations in prioritising the development, implementation and evaluation of policy to support and address the needs of young people.

Following the release of the 2023 Australian Youth Barometer , the many challenges faced by young people have been under the spotlight and in response, advocacy groups are calling for a clear plan by decision makers on how much work is needed in response to these challenges.

CEO of AYAC Joanna Rostami said, "The youth policy roundtable highlights the expertise and knowledge that the wider youth sector and Australian academics hold in understanding and addressing the ongoing and emerging challenges that young people face."

With young people making up 15 per cent of Australia’s population, Director of CYPEP and lead author of the Australian Youth Barometer, Professor Lucas Walsh, said it is critical that decision makers acknowledge these issues and act promptly to address them.

"Shaping effective policies for future generations requires a collaborative effort, and it’s imperative that young Australians have a seat at the table in these important conversations," said Professor Walsh.

"Young people are asking us to meet them halfway. While the current federal youth engagement strategy is a promising start, a concrete approach is needed to address intersecting challenges of their lives, such as employment, education, housing and climate change, which they’re telling us need urgent attention."

To view the 2023 Australian Youth Barometer, please visit:­tion/cypep

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