|Another State Budget, Another Opportunity Missed
It was highly disappointing to see the Queensland State Budget ignoring the youth sector’s urgent needs. YANQ had outlined a number of proposals to the Treasury to have investment in youth sector increased. We specifically asked for additional funding for existing youth services as well as funding for new services and support structure for the sector as a whole. We had also asked for YANQ’s funding to be reinstated.
Tens of millions of dollars were directed towards expanding youth prisons and employing extra youth prison guards in this year’s budget. The government continues to pay lip service to investment in prevention but the budget papers, once again, confirmed that Labor, similar to LNP is showing no leadership in shifting the policy agenda and investment from territory end to prevention.
And then there is the concept of competing priorities. For example, the Queensland Ballet school received $14.5 million dollars towards expanding their facility. This is on top of $3.5 million in operational funding which they received from Queensland government in the past year. The $14.5 million given to the Queensland Ballet would have funded YANQ for over 50 years.
The youth sector is the only sector in Queensland which does not have a funded peak body. Youth services across the state have been starved of funding and they are left with no proper support for their networking, workforce and professional development. The government has shut the doors on the youth sector when it comes to policy development.
It is hard for us to be clear if the Labor government is consciously mirroring LNP when it comes to ignoring the plight of marginalised young people or if it is the public service which has become set in old ways and not being prepared to provide contemporary advice in a frank and fearless manner to the government of the day. Either way marginalised young people continue to be the losers. But make no mistake, we as a society will pay for this short-sightedness of our politicians and public servants.