Imagine a future Victoria where all young people do well. Where we care for our children and young people by treating them fairly with respect and kindness. Where all young people enjoy a good education that helps them into a rewarding career. Where no matter where you live, you can grow up in peaceful neighbourhoods with excellent transport and support services.
Imagine a Victoria where every young person lives in a safe and loving home, with good health and wellbeing. A state where all young Victorians enjoy connections to culture and the natural environment. Where young people feel they’re valued, with a real say in their lives and our democracy.
We don’t currently live in this Victoria, but we can create it.
Right now, lots of young Victorians don’t have the support or opportunities they need. Many don’t think they have a trusted adult in their lives. One in ten young Victorians do not manage to complete Year 12 or a similar qualification by the time they turn 19. Around half are coping with stress. Young Victorians are facing housing and job shortages, with increased mental health concerns. Many face violence or discrimination.
To create the future our young people deserve, we need to act now. Young people and youth workers across Victoria have told us we’re at a crossroads. We’re living with the consequences of poor planning that have meant young people and their communities are losing out, particularly those outside of Melbourne’s inner suburbs. We need to change this picture fast – our population continues to grow and Melbourne will become Australia’s busiest city. We need to give young people today, and future generations, the best chance to be happy and succeed.
This is a plan for action. It has the ideas our state needs to respond to the big issues we face. It will help our state’s leaders make the right choices for young people to live their best lives.
This plan is based on the ideas of our members and partners. We especially thank the Koorie Youth Council, the Victorian Student Representative Council, our Youth Disability Advocacy Service, YACVic Rural team, Rural Reference Group and Policy Advisory Group.
Most importantly, it’s a plan based on ideas from young people and youth workers from across our state. We’ve highlighted issues in rural, regional and outer-Melbourne areas because there are opportunities there to make the greatest change.
By 2020, we expect the Victorian Government, community and youth sector to have taken the first steps in this plan. Then we’ll be on the path to a better future.
You can help make this happen. Read the plan, then ask your local candidates for the 2018 Victorian State Election how they’ll improve the lives of young Victorians. We’ve included information and questions you can use.
Leo Fieldgrass, Chief Executive Officer, Youth Affairs Council Victoria
9 things every young person needs and deserves, to live their best life
1. A secure and loving home
A home where you are safe and loved, and where you can stay as long as you like.
2. Good health, and recovery from illness or substance misuse
Staying healthy is important. Someone should help you to recover if you have been sick, or if you have been harmed by drugs or alcohol.
3. Freedom from violence, bullying and discrimination
You deserve to be safe. No one should be able to hurt you, bully you, or discriminate against you.
4. A good education
A good school system helps you to build your skills and study a range of subjects that are interesting and meaningful to you. Schools should value every student equally.
5. Pathways to a fulfilling career
We want every young person to be on the way to a career that helps you to become independent and work in jobs you enjoy.
6. A real voice in decisions
You should have real choices about what happens in your life, and a real ‘say’ in what happens in your community.
7. Nurturing connections to culture, community and the natural environment
You should be happy where you live. You should be surrounded by people who care about you and a natural environment that helps you feel healthy and calm. You should be free to enjoy your culture and express yourself.
8. A justice system that respects and keeps everyone safe
Our justice system should keep everyone safe and help make our community a fair and peaceful place.
9. Access to high quality services and transport
You should be able to access services that help you to become healthy, happy and independent, whatever your needs are, and wherever you live. There should be good transport choices to help you get around independently.
YACVic is the leading advocate for young people aged 12–25 in Victoria. As a peak body, we work closely with young Victorians and the sector that supports them to deliver effective advocacy, events, training, resources and support – so that young people can live their best lives. We’re driven by our valuable members and their vision for a positive future for young Victorians.
YACVic is an independent, not-for-profit organisation with core funding from the Victorian Government’s Office for Youth. We pursue social justice by maintaining a focus on those young people in our community who face disadvantage or marginalisation.
We provide additional targeted advocacy and services through our core agencies, YACVic Rural and the Youth Disability Advocacy Service, and auspice and support our partner agencies, the Koorie Youth Council and the Victorian Student Representative Council.