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ACOSS commends government youth compact

The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has welcomed the Federal Government’s recently announced Compact with Young Australians, under which all unemployed Australians under the age of 25 will have a guaranteed education or training place.

According to a government press release, young people always feature heavily among those workers who have been retrenched and laid off in a global recession. “This Compact is to ensure that young Australians who lose their job in this recession are trained to be the tradespeople and professionals of the recovery.”

ACOSS Chief Executive Clare Martin said “Training and education programs can open doors for people of all ages, and the Compact will help many young Australians improve their skills and ability to find employment.

“Important to the success of the Compact will be flexibility in addressing the individual needs of young Australians. It should not be a one-size fits all approach.”

To bolster the new compact, which is anticipated to provide up to 135,000 young people with higher qualifications, the Government intends to strengthen the requirements that young, unemployed people must meet to receive Youth Allowance payments.

Martin said that ACOSS would be “looking closely at the Youth Allowance conditions so that disadvantaged young Australians are not unfairly penalized by having their payments withheld and face greater hardship.”

ACOSS is also urging the Government to raise the Youth Allowance payment to the same rate as Newstart payments, which is currently $40 greater.

“Currently a major disincentive for people on Newstart to undertake training and improve their chances of getting a job is the loss of income they face when moving to the Youth Allowance payment,” Martin said.

“It should be simple – whether working or studying, people should be on the same rate.”

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