International Youth Day 2019 drives change

Young Australians in the lead: Project Youth team members Louis and Liz, who are passionate about tackling youth homelessness, promote the organisation's commitment to supporting young people in the region.

Young Australians in the lead: Project Youth team members Louis and Liz, who are passionate about tackling youth homelessness, promote the organisation's commitment to supporting young people in the region.

A moment to reflect on young people in society is being emphasised today, as part of International Youth Day.

August 12 marks the annual global recognition, which celebrates the role of young people in driving change, while also raising awareness of youth issues and challenges.

Minister for Youth and Sport Richard Colbeck says this yea'rs theme is 'Transforming Education' - a significant focus for now and into the future.

"In 2016 there were almost three million young people aged 14 to 24 in Australia-around 12.8 per cent of the population," Minister Colbeck said.

"The theme for 2019 highlights efforts to make education more relevant, equitable and inclusive for all young people.

"Education is a focus for this government, and we are investing an additional $37 billion in schools over the next decade-tailoring funding to student's needs.

"We are also focused on getting more young Australians into work, with more than 100,000 young people aged between 15 and 24 getting a job in 2017-18-the best ever result in a financial year."

The government's new Skilling Australians Fund also aims to create more apprenticeships across the next four years.

Mental health remains a priority, with about 560,000 children and adolescents in Australia estimated to have mental health condition and one in four young Australians aged 16 to 24 experiencing mental ill health in any given year.

The $503 million Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan is the largest suicide prevention strategy in Australia's history and has a particular focus on Indigenous suicide prevention and mental health support for children and their families, including strengthening the headspace network by expanding from 110 to 145 centres nationwide by 2021.

The government has also committed up to $117 million for Reconnect services over five years. Reconnect is a community-based early intervention and prevention program for young people aged 12 to 18 years (or young people aged 12 to 21 for new arrivals) who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and their families.

"Australia's future is bright with the calibre of young people in our ranks, but we need to ensure this significant part of population is supported to address their challenges and educated to reach their potential," Minister Colbeck said.

Project Youth worker Louis, works in the housing team for the St George and Sutherland Shire area. He is particularly passionate about ending youth homelessness.

He was profiled on Project Youth's Facebook page this month as one of the organisation's team members who work to drive change within the community.

"I help young people escape tough situations and support them to find longer term housing options," he said.

"I also link people up with the right mental health, employment, education and social support services.

"Not everyone was born into the same circumstances, but everyone deserves the same opportunities to be safe, healthy, connected to the community and to achieve their goals. Your past shouldn't determine your future, and if I can assist in some small way in helping with that then I'm doing my job."

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