Imagine an Australia where young women and young men are actively engaged in their education, their families and communities, where they feel heard by policy makers and proudly participate in a vibrant Australian democracy.
That’s the vision of the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC), the national peak body for the 4.3 million Australians aged 12-25, as well as the thousands of people and organisations who work to support them.
And yet, in 2014, AYAC was defunded by the Abbott Government and now only has enough resources to operate one day per week.
Today’s young Australians face significant challenges and are likely to be the first generation to experience lower standards of living than their parents.
Two in five high school aged people either aren’t attending school or say they feel they don’t belong there.
Of those who are in school, more than half feel there are barriers to achieving their goals when they leave school.
If you have a child in their teens or early twenties, they are now more likely to be unemployed than at any time since the mid-1990s.
WATCH: In 2013, AYAC partnered with OurSay to run interactive sessions on youth employment (post continues after video).
New technology and automations means that many of the jobs young people are studying or training for now may not even exist in a few years.
Spiralling house prices mean that even those with work will be less likely to be able to own their own home.
While young people are taking political action in new and different forms, they still report feeling disconnected from the traditional political process and ignored by politicians.
Worryingly, a 2013 Lowy Institute survey of Australian voters found less than half of under 30s preferred democracy over any other form of government.
Unhelpfully, the Australian Government last year removed all official mechanisms to hear from or engage with young people, cancelled the National Youth Awards and ended long-term funding for National Youth Week.
AYAC works with community and business sector leaders to develop ideas for social and economic policy that better supports young people into education and employment.