Federal Budget 2021-22

CMY shares the concerns of the Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (MYAN Australia) that the Federal Budget 2021-22 released this week has no long-term plan for young people, and lacks ‘strategic and targeted investment in young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds to address economic, social, and civic barriers that have been exacerbated by COVID-19’.

Read MYAN’s full statement here.

CMY applauds the Government’s announcements of increased mental health investment in the Budget, at such an unprecedented time as young people and communities continue to recover from impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes $278.6 million over four years to expand and enhance headspace youth mental health services; and $16.9 million to fund mental health early intervention supports and preventive measures for migrants and multicultural communities.

We support the $3.4 billion commitment towards improving women’s safety, economic security, and health and wellbeing. This includes $164.8 million in financial support for women who escape family and domestic violence; $29.3 million over three years to support refugee women and other migrant women’s safety and social economic inclusion; and $6.8 million to continue the delivery of critical services for culturally diverse communities through to 30 June 2022.

CMY also welcomes the investment of $506.3 million over two years to extend the JobTrainer Fund, which aims to deliver 163,000 low-cost or free training places. We also support measures to lift restrictions on student visa holders to allow them to work more than 40 hours per fortnight if they are employed in critical sectors.

While we welcome these important investments in mental health, women, and training; we strongly support calls for more targeted responses to support young people who have been, and still are, among those most disproportionately impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are concerned that young people, particularly from culturally diverse and First Nations backgrounds, have not been recognised in the Budget despite the crucial role they play in the ongoing long term recovery of the Australian economy,” says Carmel Guerra, Chair of MYAN and CEO of CMY.

In addition, we strongly oppose the four-year waiting period for new migrants to access most Government welfare payments. This is particularly concerning for young people who are on 117/115 visas, as well as families and carers who will be left without this critical support when it is most needed, during their initial settlement period.

“Newly-arrived young people and families settling in Australia often need immediate support – waiting four years to access this support at such a critical time only serves to further marginalise new migrants,” said Carmel Guerra.

“This Budget has delivered some important investments in a number of areas, however young people again appear to have lost out.”

We strongly encourage the Government to listen more intently to the needs of young people from diverse backgrounds, and commit to a targeted, long-term plan that acknowledges and responds to the heavy burden Australia’s youth have been forced to carry as a result of this ongoing, unprecedented pandemic.”

Further reading