Ms Patten: My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Employment, Minister Pulford, and the action I seek is for her to meet with the Youth Affairs Council Victoria, YACVic, to discuss their youth employment recovery plan and the establishment of a Victorian youth employment commissioner.
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically affected everyone’s lives, but young people have been disproportionately impacted.
This generation was already facing the prospect of being the first to be worse off than their parents, and the pandemic has exacerbated this generational inequality.
Young people are facing rising unemployment, declining mental health and unprecedented interruptions to their education and lives.
Critical supports on which young people rely have been taken away, and the next step in this crisis is occurring now as income support payments are cut, leaving tens of thousands of young people without adequate financial support.
Near the end of last year, the unemployment rate was 16.2 per cent for young people, compared to the general population at 7.1 per cent.
This is partly because young people comprise more than half of the employees in the industries which have been devastated by the pandemic, including hospitality, retail, tourism and the arts.
Without action, a generation of young people will be lost.
YACVic has identified that Victoria urgently needs a recovery plan for young people to address the impacts of this pandemic, which for many have been life changing.
Past recessions have shown that young people are more likely to experience the long-term effects of unemployment when compared to older people.
I urge the minster to meet with YACVic to run through their proposals that seek to create a whole-of-government youth employment plan for Victoria. Their idea to establish a Victorian youth employment commissioner who will be responsible for developing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating youth-focused employment policies, and embedding youth participation in policy responses, is a great initiative that I urge the government to back.
Fiona Patten MP
Leader of Reason
Member for Northern Metropolitan Region
Adjournment debate 4/3/21