E-NEWSLETTER Multicultural youth advocacy network (Australia) 
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Federal budget a mixed bag for young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds 

MYAN Australia's National Coordinator, Nadine Liddy shares the organisations views of the Federal Budget 2016:

The Federal Budget 2016-17 sees the Government continue with current commitments to settlement services and programs into the coming year. There will be an increase to the overall investment in settlement services to support Australia's commitment to resettle an additional 12,000 Syrian and Iraqi refugees. Some changes have also been forecast for English language services, but these are to be contained within existing funding allocations. 

The MYAN is pleased to see the Government building on commitments made last year to improve employment outcomes for young people. The inclusion of Youth Jobs PaTH in the broader Youth Employment Package is a specific investment for under 25s. It aims to provide access to real work experience and internships and marks a positive change in how young people will be supported in their transition to work. To ensure this is translated into real opportunities, measures must be reinforced by targeted supports that address the unique challenges of young people - particularly those over-represented in youth unemployment figures, including those from refugee and migrant backgrounds.

The Work for the Dole reforms, in particular the extension of the entry period from six to 12 months, are welcomed by the MYAN. Changes to the program will give young people more time to find meaningful work, however there is concern about the continuation of the one month waiting period for young people to access income support. The MYAN is also concerned about the lower payments for many young unemployed people.

The $10.9 million to improve the social and economic participation of humanitarian arrivals is a sound investment in community supports for newly arrived young people and their families. As is the expansion of the National Community Hubs Programme. The allocation of $5.2 million to a career pathways pilot for humanitarian entrants will provide the additional supports new humanitarian arrivals need to realise their potential and participate fully in Australian society.

The continuation of broad cuts to essential services, including health, education and social security, in this budget are disappointing. Added to the further reductions in staff resourcing for Centrelink, such cuts will further erode core protections and impact disproportionately upon people on low incomes (including young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds and their families).

Though it is encouraging to see the Government demonstrating a commitment to meeting the needs of young people through core areas like employment, more should be done to foster welcoming communities and support refugee and migrant young people’s full and meaningful participation in Australian life.

To learn more about how the Federal Budget 2016-17 will impact young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds, and the services and programs supporting them, see:
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