Media Release – 10 May 2023
Federal Budget 2023
Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network welcomes a diverse budget but more must be done to address cost of living for young people.
Australia’s Peak Body for refugee and migrant youth, MYAN welcomes a diverse budget that takes some positive steps to respond to the cost of living crisis, including a huge $5.7 billion investment in Medicare, and a much needed increase in rental assistance and income support (the most substantial indexation since the welfare measure was brought in in 1998).
While this is definitely a step in the right direction for young people struggling to make ends meet, it doesn’t go far enough to address their serious financial concerns and the reality of living in poverty in Australia. While the budget does offer some relief for the ongoing cost of living pressures, measures such as the removal of the Low and Middle Income Tax Offsets (meaning workers will receive up to $1500 less at tax return time) and the failure to raise income support to above the poverty line means this budget falls short of fully addressing the significant financial challenges faced by young people, including those from refugee and migrant backgrounds.
However, MYAN was pleased to see some important measures in the budget, including the removal of the 5 year eligibility for migrants to access settlement services and changes to citizenship requirements for New Zealand citizens.
Carmel Guerra OAM, MYAN Chair commented “The eligibility criteria is well overdue and welcomed and will make a significant impact in the lives of thousands of young migrants and refugees. We also welcome the continued investment in the youth transition support services and CALD health initiatives.”
Rana Ebrahimi, MYAN National Manager added “MYAN remains concerned that income support payments across the board, including the level of income support available to asylum seekers living in the community on Bridging Visas, remains insufficient to ensure the adequate standard of living needed to mitigate the current cost of living crisis and ensure that young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds can meet the costs of basic necessities and the costs associated with looking for work.”
Noteworthy Federal Budget measures supporting young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds
In terms of migration, MYAN is particularly pleased to see the government has responded to calls from the sector to remove the 5-year maximum duration of eligibility for services under the Settlement Engagement and Transition Support Program, the National Community Hubs Program and Youth Transition Support services, in recognition that support should be based on need rather than a defined period of time.
The Government will also provide $9.1 million in 2023–24 to extend existing Youth Transition Support services for 12 months to 30 June 2024 to continue settlement services to young refugees and migrants to improve their employment outcomes.
As previously announced we welcome the decision that refugees on Temporary Protection Visas (TPVs) and Safe Haven Enterprise Visas (SHEVs) will be given a permanent Resolution of Status visa. Similarly, we applaud the removal of barriers to citizenship for New Zealand citizens in Australia, something we have long advocated for, which will have a significant positive impact on young people and their families who make significant contributions to the Australian community while building their lives here.
EUCATION & EMPLOYMENT
The announcement of 300,000 fee-free TAFE places for critical and emerging industries and $8.6 million to ensure one in 10 workers on a major federally-funded project is a trainee or apprentice offers some hope to many young people who may have otherwise been unable to attain specific qualifications due to financial burdens and gives more young people the opportunity to gain practical workplace skills, earn an income, and contribute to the economy.
HEALTH AND WELLBEING
We were pleased to see a continuation of funding to partner with culturally and linguistically diverse communities to boost COVID-19 vaccination rates, and acknowledge the recognition by the government of the importance of working closely with diverse communities to ensure that solutions are responsive to their needs and reflect their perspectives.
A particularly welcome addition to the budget is the investment to develop a 10 Year National Action Plan to support the health and wellbeing of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer and Asexual (LGBTIQA+) people and establish a LGBTIQA+ Health Advisory Group. This will require sustained investment and engagement with advocacy groups working on behalf of LGBTQI individuals, as well as continued dialogue with representatives from within this community itself, including diverse youth representation.
The budget also outlines support for visa holders experiencing domestic and family violence by expanding the family violence provisions within the Migration Regulations 1994.
Better data driven evidence will have a positive impact on our work and we welcome the announcement of $22.0 million to continue the Centre for Population and modelling of the fiscal benefits of migration, and $16.4 million to the Australian Bureau of Statistics to implement the Life Course Data Initiative to capture data insights to inform long term policy responses aimed at interrupting cycles of intergenerational disadvantage. We are particularly excited to see the release of Wave 6 data from the Building a New Life in Australia (BNLA) Longitudinal Study a 10-year summary report exploring five domains of settlement for humanitarian migrants: economic security, social participation, independence, services and support and personal wellbeing.
“Targeted investment in young people is so critical for Australia’s prosperity” says Ms. Ebrahimi. “We call on the Federal Government to ensure the education, youth employment and wellbeing measure and initiatives announced in the budget have targeted approaches to ensure inclusion of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds.
“We look forward to continuing our work with the Australian Government to address longstanding inequalities and disadvantage for particular groups of young people to ensure that all of Australia’s young people can access opportunities for future social, economic and civic participation into the future.”
MYAN Australia contacts:
Rana Ebrahimi, National Manager – 0498 437 380
Carmel Guerra OAM, Chair – (03) 9340 3700