Author: 
Samuel Mortimer, QCOSS
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Being young should allow you a certain freedom to freely explore and embrace a newfound independence as you look toward that future. Unfortunately, as rosy this outlook may be, Queensland has a number of issues affecting youth.

According to a Queensland Government youth consultation, 23.4 per cent of homeless people are aged 12 to 24 years, and more than 8,500 young Queenslanders are in out-of-home care (as at 30 June 2016). Of the young people attending university, 21 per cent reported living with an annual income of less than $10,000. 

In 2017 the state government committed to engaging with young people to find out more about the issues affecting them and build solutions.

During consultations, the government heard from more than 1,200 people aged between 12 and 25. Their voices helped shape the Queensland Youth Strategy - which aims to involve young people in the decision-making that will affect their lives now and into the future. Launched as part of the strategy, the Youth eHub is a safe space for conversations and ideas, and provides a platform for young people to engage directly with government. 

The four building blocks at the heart of the strategy include:

Supporting our most vulnerable young people

Queensland's diverse population means some young people require targeted support to be able to fully participate in community life. Individualised supports are available for young people in out-of-home care (through programs like Next Step After Care), and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people (pathways into further education through the Youth Employment Program). Other programs aim to assist young women, LGBTIQ young people, young people with disability, and young people living in regional areas.

Housing

Access to safe, affordable and appropriate housing is a fundamental human right and key to ensuring the best start for young people in their journey to independence. The Queensland Government is aiming to improve access and deliver resources, such as the Queensland Financial Inclusion plan, to assist young people to maintain housing security.

Healthy futures

Good health is vital for young people to be strong and resilient and to keep pace with rapid and continuous global changes. The Chats for Life app was launched in late 2017, and aims to provide young people with the skills, strategies and confidence to have an early conversation with someone they might be worried about.

Educating into employment

Ensuring young people have the knowledge and skills for employment is vital in a globalised job market. The Advance Queensland Young Starters' Fund is an inititive seeking to build entrepreneurial and start-up skills in young people.

Can you or your organisation assist with youth issues in Queensland? To get involved in, or to find out more about the four building blocks, please visit the Queensland Youth Strategy website.

Queensland Youth Week, 3-14 April 2019, is an annual celebration of the positive contributions Queenslanders aged 12 to 25 bring to communities across the state. The theme for 2019 is 'unlimited' - celebrating the boundless energy young people bring, and encouraging them to look to the future. 

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