Do you want to know what the young people in your life are thinking? Here at Mission Australia, we certainly do. We know that young Australians are our future and their views are integral to the public policy discussion.
For fifteen years we’ve run an annual Youth Survey, with nearly 20,000 respondents, it the largest survey of its kind in Australia.
Each year it provides a valuable insight of young Australians and offers many important insights that inform our work, that of other community groups and the decision making of government. We want to know what is important to young people in the year 2016.
In this year’s survey which closes next Monday 22 August we have included new focus questions to gain a better understanding of young people’s experiences of discrimination, as well as questions focused on young peoples’ sense of community.
Last year our Youth Survey revealed the most important issues to young people in Australia were alcohol and drugs, equity and discrimination and the economy and financial matters. The results also showed young Australians have big aspirations, yet more than half felt that barriers existed to the achievement of future education and employment goals.
Based on those results we have called on the government to better support young job seekers.
It also revealed that nearly one in seven young Australians spent time away from home in the last three years because they felt they couldn't return. This is a startling finding that points to high rates of couch surfing. Young people often live temporarily in other households - perhaps sleeping on friends’ sofas or in the spare room or garage of a relative - because they believe they can’t return home.
What might start as intermittent couch surfing can turn into more entrenched homelessness without appropriate early intervention. To prevent a crisis escalating, there are crucial services available such as Reconnect which work with the whole family and the Ryde Project which works through schools to identify young people at risk of homelessness.
More broadly, we need affordable housing options for young people with wrap around supports connecting them to education and work. Mission Australia will continue to advocate for such programs in the lead up to the election and in my meetings with government and the sector.
Mission Australia’s Youth Survey is currently open to all Australian young people aged 15 to 19 years old until 22 August 2016. With nearly 19,000 participants last year we are hoping to surpass 20,000 respondents this year.
We believe everyone is responsible for encouraging young people to speak up and, perhaps most importantly, really listening to their views.
CEO Mission Australia
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