Youth Sector proposals ignored in Queensland state budget

Worrying news from our good friends in Queensland, Australia as the Labour administration ignores its proposals for investment in the youth sector.



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.





Siyavash Doostkhan reports that our friends at Youth Affairs Network Queensland have something to celebrate – witness to the truth that the struggle isn’t easy and is often long. In these difficult times victories are precious.


After 20 years of campaigning by YANQ and other advocacy organisations, we finally convinced the state government to change the laws that allowed 17 year-old children to be locked up in adult prisons.

Just before 10pm on 3rd November 2016, the Youth Justice and Other Legislation (Inclusion of 17 year-old persons) Amendment Bill was passed by the House.

The Bill will increase the upper age of a child from 16 to 17 years and establish a regulation-making power to transfer 17 year-olds from the adult criminal justice system to the youth justice system.

With Labor and the Liberal National Party [LNP] tied on 40 votes for yes and 40 votes for no, it came down to the crossbenchers to pass the Bill.

Katter’s Australian Party MPs took opposing sides, with Robbie Katter supporting Labor in getting 17 year-olds out of adult prisons and Shane Knuth voting with the LNP.

Independents Rob Pyne and Billy Gordon also supported the government.

YANQ would like to congratulate the Labor Government, independents Rob Pyne, Billy Gordon and Robbie Katter for their ethical stance on this important legislation which brings Queensland inline with other Australian States and Territories and meets our obligation under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Two decades of agitating, education and organising by YANQ members across the state ensured the passage of this legislation in Queensland’s parliament. It was unfortunate that the LNP did not approach this issue in a bipartisan manner and reverted to their backward stance of being Queensland’s law and order hairy chested stalwarts.

IDYW at the State Youth Affairs Conference, Queensland, August 21/22


This coming Thursday and Friday, August 21/22 our Campaign will be making a significant contribution to the State Youth Affairs Conference  being held in Brisbane, Queensland. In preparing for the event it has been stimulating to work with Siyavash Doostkhah, the director of Youth Affairs New Queensland [YANQ], Liz Archer and Suzi Quixley. There has been a genuine sense of being involved with fellow travellers, determined to defend youth work as a distinctive educational practice. At this moment I’m running around packing, fretting about whether my three inputs are up to scratch, whilst worrying about my first ever long haul journey! Any road I hope to do our Campaign justice at the same time as learning from what’s going on in Queensland and beyond. To get a feel for the conference agenda and indeed an insight into the Australian scene, find below:



Once I’m over the jet lag [hopefully?] and into the swing of things there is a danger I’ll forget the existence of Facebook and Twitter. However I’ll try not to be unduly distracted and will endeavour to send photos and comments on the proceedings. Watch this space!


Tony Taylor, Coordinator of the IDYW  Campaign has been invited to be the keynote speaker at the Queensland Youth Affairs conference to be held in Brisbane, August 20/21, 2014. This invitation is a tribute to the impact of our Campaign, to the efforts of our supporters, over the last five years. It illustrates that, whilst our perspective is derided as out-of-date by those infatuated in the UK with targets and outcomes, the opposite is true. Our desire to defend youth work as a distinctive practice resonates with workers, researchers and academics across the globe – in Europe, in the United States and, clearly, Australia.



In the coming weeks we will post a number of the conference ‘call-outs’ being produced by the organisers at the Youth Affairs Network Queensland. These will be invaluable in illuminating our understanding of the Australian scene, in underlining that we face a common enemy, even if that foe appears in many different guises.