Leader of the Opposition and Member for Maribyrnong, Bill Shorten and Member for Gellibrand, Tim Watts have called on the Abbott Government to commit to future funding for local Youth Connections services.
The program, established by the Federal Labor Government in 2010, assists young people in overcoming barriers to education and employment, and is run locally by the Westgate Community Initiatives Group.
“This service helps young people in Maribyrnong and Moonee Valley, who have left school or are at risk of leaving school, to continue with their education and ultimately complete year 12,” Mr Shorten said.
“It’s incredibly important that these students are given a second chance to complete their VCE, allowing them to go on to further study or employment.”
Mr Watts said that nationally, Youth Connections had already given more than 75,000 young people the opportunity to reengage with their education.
“This program has a fantastic success rate, with more than 80 per cent of those who access the services still in education or employment two years after,” he said.
“Youth Connections is a vital service to Melbourne’s west. With unemployment already an issue in our local community, it’s so important we ensure that our young people are not slipping through the cracks.”
Despite the importance of the program, it was revealed in Senate Estimates that the Abbott Government has not allocated funding for these services beyond the end of this year.
It was also revealed that the Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne, is yet to even ask his Department for advice about programs that support young people in completing school and moving into employment.
“It’s time the Abbott Government stepped up and begun assisting young people to finish school and get good jobs,” Mr Shorten said.
“With rising youth unemployment, a cut to the Youth Connections service really is callous and short-sighted."
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