Election Statement

Youth Action Welcomes Newly Elected Labor Government in New South Wales and invites Parliament to prioritise young people’s issues and youth participation. 

Youth Action NSW congratulates the incoming Minns Government. We would also like to thank the outgoing Government, in particular Minister Maclaren-Jones and Minister Franklin, for their support of young people and the services who support them in NSW. We are excited to welcome Minister Rose Jackson, Minister for Youth, Minister Kate Washington, Minister for Families and Communities and Minister Jihad Dib, Minister for Juvenile Justice.  

Young people made up a significant proportion of the voting population in NSW this election. This presents the new government with an opportunity to engage with young people and services who support them to develop policies that are informed by young people’s lived experiences, in particular those from socially excluded groups such as First Nations young people, those from culturally diverse communities, regional young people, LGBTQIA+ young people, young people with disability, and those doing it tough. We are pleased to see that a number of Labor’s pre-election commitments were aligned to recommendations in the NSW Youth Alliance 10 Key Asks and Youth Action’s Election Platform. We are looking forward to working with the new government in relation to the remaining recommendations.   

Health and Wellbeing

Youth Action has engaged extensively with young people regarding health and wellbeing, through our Ask for Health initiative that equips young people to have confidence navigating the health system and in our recent consultations about the pandemic. We have heard a great deal about the increase demand for mental health services. 

We were pleased to see recognition of the need for mental health supports through additional allocation of funding for mental health crisis assistance. We believe there is also a need to strengthen the youth sector through investment in early intervention and skills training to increase the capacity of youth services to offer additional supports and programs targeting mental health to meet the unmet demand. 

Cost of Living and Intergenerational Inequity

Our recent pre-election polling found cost of living was the top issue for young people 12 – 24 years. We welcome the suite of proposals announced by Labor to tackle this issue, in particular rent and housing reforms, including their commitment to replace no-grounds evictions, the introduction of a Rental Commissioner, and commitment to develop more social and affordable housing. Whilst these measures will have a positive impact for young people looking for longer-term housing, we know that to achieve lasting change, immediate investment is needed to tackle youth homelessness as the lack of access to safe and secure housing for young people experiencing homelessness in NSW has reached crisis point.  

Youth Action looks forward to working with the government to investigate other cost of living measures suggested by young people to improve the quality of their lives, especially young people tackling disadvantage such as waiving COVID fines and improving access to driver licencing programs. 

Education and Learning

Youth Action has heard a great deal from young people and the youth sector about education and learning, in our consultations about COVID, employment, and in our Throughcare Initiative. The disruption to learning caused by the pandemic was one of the main issues raised. 

We were pleased to see one of the early election commitments was to address the disruption to learning caused by COVID by establishing the new Education Future Fund. The Fund which will continue the intensive learning support offered during the pandemic through a permanent tutoring program coupled with investment in teachers, school counsellors, and development of strategies to improve teacher retention. Many students, especially those from socially excluded groups will benefit from this intensive individual assistance.  

We are currently undertaking consultations about key tenets of programs that successfully re-engage young people in education. We are keen to discuss the role the youth sector can play in addressing impacts such as student disengagement from education and learning.   


Addressing the complex issue of youth unemployment requires a multifaceted approach addressing both supply and demand side issues that confront young people in the labour market. Youth Action’s Bearing the Brunt Report found that young people were disproportionately impacted by the job losses and unemployment caused by the pandemic.  In 2019 just over 50% of young people were employed in casual or gig-based jobs. Labor’s promised to implement portable entitlements and safeguards to those in the gig economy will benefit these young people and is positive recognition of the need to promote stable and secure work with entitlements for all employees.  

As a first step, Youth Action recommends the development of a comprehensive NSW Youth Employment Strategy, informed by the voices of young people. The Tasmanian Government has recently announced the creation of an Employment Strategy for young Tasmanians. Youth Action would like to take the opportunity to discuss developing a similar Strategy in NSW. 

Youth Services and Youth Participation

The work undertaken by the youth sector to establish the conditions for young people to thrive and reach their full potential is often overlooked, especially in times of crisis and disaster. There has been an ongoing reduction in the capacity of the youth sector to meet the demand for services due to lack of resources over a number of years. This was further exacerbated by the effects of the pandemic and recent disasters. 

The Labor commitment to long term funding contracts for community providers is something that the youth and community sector has been advocating for some time. This will deliver greater job security and funding certainty, enabling youth services to better respond to the needs of young people.  

A significant investment in the youth and community sector is still required, in particular the provision of early intervention support if young people are to be supported to thrive and participate fully in their communities. Self-determination for First Nations communities through funding for Aboriginal owned and controlled organisations needs to be a priority. 

Youth Justice Throughcare

Young people and the youth sector have stressed the importance of resources being directed to addressing issues of systemic disadvantage which underlie young people’s involvement in justice and child protection systems. 

Labor’s promised drug summit to bring together stakeholders to build consensus on drug policy is a positive step. Young people and the youth sector have made it clear to us that this needs to be accompanied by provision of greater supports and services to young people tackling drug and alcohol issues across the full spectrum of interventions from education and information provision through to counselling and residential therapeutic programs.  

We will continue to advocate to the Minns Government for a whole of government approach to address the growing disadvantage experienced by young people from socially excluded groups through the establishment of a state-wide interdepartmental working group on vulnerable young people which is informed by their lived experiences. This needs to be accompanied by other measures including  raising the age of criminal responsibility to 14 years, increased provision of after-hours and weekend programs to engage children and young people in meaningful activities, greater commitment to Closing the Gap targets, and implementation of the recommendations from the Family is Culture report.