Acknowledgement of Country

The South Australian Government acknowledges and respects Aboriginal people as the State’s first people and recognises their traditional relationship with Country. We acknowledge that the spiritual, social, cultural and economic practices of Aboriginal people come from their traditional lands and waters, and that their cultural and heritage beliefs, languages and laws are still of importance today.

Message from the Premier

The future of our state lies in the hands of our young people. Among them are potential entrepreneurs, philosophers, artists and professionals – people who will be at the forefront of innovation, discovery and building thriving communities that are sustainable into the future.

This new, three-year SA Youth Action Plan lays out my government’s commitments to ensuring young South Australians are happy, healthy and equal contributors to our state’s social and economic prosperity.

By focussing on creating new opportunities for young people and building their resilience and skills, we are better able to tap into their creative and innovative potential and provide incentives for them to stay and work in South Australia rather than seek careers elsewhere.

This plan recognises that South Australians aged 12-24 are valued citizens who have a powerful contribution to make. It outlines clear and tangible actions that we want our government departments to achieve in partnership with young people and other key stakeholders. I am confident that, through the measures in this plan, we will create exciting new opportunities for our young people, positioning them as future leaders and contributors to our communities.

 

Steven Marshall

Premier of South Australia

Message from the Minister for Human Services

As a government, we want to empower young people. We value the fresh and passionate voice that they bring to our community conversations. We want to ensure that young people are engaged, active contributors as well as creating the opportunities for learning and growth so that they can reach their fullest potential.

Strong Futures aims to help young South Australians achieve these things by listening to their hopes, needs and aspirations and developing a suite of initiatives that provides a pathway to future learning, earning and civic opportunities.

Strong Futures is a culmination of hundreds of young people’s voices, all calling for an opportunity to earn and learn, a fair and inclusive society, a focus on wellbeing and the environment and opportunities to connect and grow. Put simply, it’s a plan developed by young people, for young people.

My thanks go to everyone involved in developing this three-year SA Youth Action Plan, especially those young people who volunteered their time to talk about the challenges they, or their friends might experience and the ideas and aspirations they have for building a vibrant and thriving state.

 

Michelle Lensink MLC

Minister for Human Services

Our Plan for building strong futures for all young South Australians

There are more than 266,000[1] young people aged 12-24 years living in South Australia. Our young people have always been active contributors to our state’s social, cultural and economic life, and will continue to be into the future. It is important that we hear their ideas, harness their talents and provide them with the opportunities and supports they need to build a strong future for themselves and for our state.

We want young people to be proud to live in a state that is at the centre of space innovation and a national leader on climate smart policies, such as our commitment to a zero emissions economy future.

We want young South Australians to be confident that we are making the best investments today for their futures tomorrow. That is why the voices of young people have been central to the development of the Strong Futures SA Youth Action Plan, and will remain central to the activities outlined in the Plan’s implementation.

The actions in this Plan are clear and practical. They build on the strong foundations of work that is currently being done, as well as identify new opportunities that respond directly to the priorities that young South Australians have expressed to us.

These flagship projects are exciting initiatives that will see new partnerships formed between government agencies and other stakeholders as together we deliver timely and tangible outcomes for young people within our state.

A Plan that delivers for all young South Australians will:

  • Listen to young people’s needs and aspirations and positively involve them in decisions that impact them and their communities
  • Coordinate efforts across government agencies and key stakeholders to provide young people with real opportunities now and for their futures
  • Support young people in context, whether through initiatives in metropolitan or regional communities, or by supporting them at critical life crossroads
  • Recognise and support the youth sector that supports young people

Listening to young people

We actively engaged with hundreds of young people and the sector to develop this Plan and ensure it reflected the needs, wants and aspirations of young South Australians.

We did this by conducting:

  • An online survey about young people’s priorities through YourSAy.
  • A Youth Panel Forum which included a diverse group of young people from across South Australia.
  • In-person consultation with representatives from the youth sector.
  • A Government Task Group which brought together representatives from key government agencies and the Youth Panel Forum to map current investment in outcomes for young people across government agencies, and to identify gaps and opportunities.
  • Further public consultation through YourSAy that gave young people and people that work with young people the opportunity to give feedback on the Plan’s implementation.

In total, the development of the Plan has engaged almost 500 young people at different stages across its development. We look forward to growing that number during the Plan’s implementation.

We’re accountable and off to a strong start

We have sought cross-government commitment to the Plan through Cabinet endorsement. Strong Futures Projects in the Plan are built on partnerships across agencies and have the flexibility to invite new partnerships along the way.

The Plan was launched during SA Youth Week in April 2020.

In response to young people’s calls for commitment to transparency, accessibility and preserving our planet’s precious resources, the Plan will be almost entirely digital.

The Plan’s website will enable us to track progress with actions over time and will make it much easier for young people and those who work with them to connect to the work happening across government.

Actions have been mapped to the Outcomes Framework for Children and Young People so that we can contribute to measuring how well we are doing. This mapping is available online alongside the digital Plan.

What young people told us

What young people told us

In August 2019, our engagement with young people culminated in a Youth Panel Forum held in metropolitan Adelaide. Young people aged 12 – 24 years came from across South Australia, including 24% from regional South Australia, and from all walks of life.

The Youth Panel went through a rigorous weekend long process which involved hearing from key State Youth Advocates and ‘issue experts’ and delving into the information collated from the various consultations.

The Youth Panel took this information and wrote their own report to the government. In response, the government, via this plan, has embraced a shared vision with young people and has prioritised what young people have told us are key to their future.

Our commitment to addressing these priorities is detailed under ‘Priority Areas’ and identified as ‘Strong Futures Projects’.

 

A message from the Youth Panel
“We are passionate young South Australians from all walks of life, joining hands to advocate for what is important to young people now and for future generations. Young people have a right to have their voices heard and to have youth representing youth.

We believe in having a strong action plan for youth. This plan will foster positivity, civic awareness, inclusivity and community mindedness in our society. For far too long we have been ignored or not listened to – some of us even being shunned from society. It is time for us to have our voices heard, our rights enacted and for us to take our seat at the decision making table.

Young people want a fair, equal and inclusive South Australia which embraces diversity and brings the best out of each individual. We also want to live in a safe, clean and innovative environment.

The opportunity to directly influence the priorities of the SA Youth Action Plan provides hope to all young people of South Australia by being the bridge between us and the Government. Our panel stand as a team, one united body and we strongly encourage all youth to stand with us, letting their voice not only to be heard, but also to be acted on. As individuals, influence can be challenging, but together our voices can make a change and break through the barriers we face.”

Our Shared Vision

The Government of South Australia shares a vision with young people for:

A South Australia that is safe, inclusive and sustainable for all young people, now and into the future

Principles

Every aspect and stage of the Plan will strive to:

Involve young people
Make real change
Focus on priorities

Priority Areas

The following priorities of the Plan have been informed directly by young South Australians. These priority areas represent the four pillars that we must invest in to create a bright future for all young South Australians.

Priority Area 1 Earn and Learn
Young South Australians are ready for work and life

Priority Area 2 Fair and Inclusive
Young South Australians are included and reach their potential

Priority Area 3 Wellbeing and Environment
Young South Australians are safe, healthy and resilient

Priority Area 4 Connect and Grow
Young South Australians are engaged and have influence

Priority Area 1 - Earn and Learn

Young South Australians are ready for work and life

 

Our Goal

Young South Australians have the necessary life skills and supports to complete school and transition confidently to further education and training or to meaningful employment. They can successfully build vocational pathways that reflect the changing world of work. They are financially resilient and confident in their future.

 

What we have heard…

Schooling/Education

What do young people value?

School and study satisfaction was important – 75%

Kindness

What do young people want to learn?

Social issues

Practical life skills

Vocational direction

Australian society

Issues

Not feeling prepared for adulthood/leaving school

e.g. things like voting, completing a tax return, housing

Bullying

Study problems

Issues

Young people identified lots of barriers to finding work.

Top barriers were:

1 Practical/structural

Lack of skills/experience

Lack of jobs/job security

Transport

Lack of jobs for university graduates

Having school responsibilities

Living remotely

Not having a driver’s license

Low pay rates

2 Social barriers to job security

Discrimination and inequality

Mental health and wellbeing

Alcohol and other drugs

Having a disability

How young workers are treated

Impact of age on job opportunities

What young people want

More access to work experience

Better and kinder people in the workplace

Part-time work now and more options in the future

Income to support their own needs

What we know

While most young South Australians aged 15 to 24 years are engaged in study or work[3] and are on track to achieve their employment goals in the coming years, some find the transition from learning to earning or further study more difficult to navigate.

We know that when young people successfully transition from school to further social and economic participation, they are more likely to maintain an enduring positive trajectory.

We want to ensure that we generate the best opportunities for young South Australians to complete school and to transition confidently to further education, training and meaningful employment.

The Plan showcases initiatives across government that are already addressing these issues. Examples of these include:

 

Strong Futures Project 1

Young people told us that access to quality education and jobs is a priority

Action
Build the foundation skills and participation of young people not in full time work and/or study

Lead
Dept. of Human Services and Dept. for Innovation and Skills

Priority Area 2 - Fair and Inclusive

Young South Australians are included and reach their potential

 

Our Goal

Young South Australians feel confident to explore their personal potential and to access opportunities and supports regardless of race, age, gender identity, location or ability.

 

What we have heard…

Discrimination and equality

What matters

24.8% of young people say equity and discrimination are important issues in Australia

Treatment of Aboriginal peoples

Racism

Sexism

LGBTIQ+ discrimination

Some have opportunities and others don’t
– opportunities for everyone

Young people are passionate, positive and committed
to achieving acceptance and equality

What young people want

Equality of access, rights and opportunities

Acceptance

Spaces for young people inclusive of religion, race, gender and age

Education for all kids

Education on multiculturalism, race and disability

Access to services

What young people want

Regional healthcare services

More counselling services

More mental health education

Easier transition from youth to adult mental health services

To be consulted in the development of mental health services for men

More youth support services

What we Know

The South Australian youth population is enormously diverse. Of our 265,565 young people[4], 36,000 were born outside of Australia[4], 8,730 identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander[4], 53,000 live in regional areas[4], and 24,000 are living with disability[5], 11% are of diverse sexual orientation, sex or gender identity[6] and 11% are carers[7].

We want all young South Australians to feel confident to explore their personal aspirations and to develop their potential through fair access to opportunities. We want all young South Australians to be fully engaged socially and economically. And we want to provide all young South Australians with access to quality and reliable supports when they are facing challenges, and with services and systems that are easy to navigate.

There are many initiatives in South Australia that support young people from diverse backgrounds and experiences.

Examples include:

 

Strong Futures Project 2

Young people told us that investing in young people living in regional South Australia was a priority

Action

Develop practical actions that support social and economic outcomes for young people in regional South Australia

For example, projects informed by regional young people and stakeholders that fit in the context of their regional communities

Lead
Dept. of Human Services

 

Strong Futures Project 3

Action
Invest in the capacity of youth services to deliver high quality services to young people, including in regional South Australia

For example, training opportunities for service providers such as trauma responsive practices

Lead
Dept. of Human Services

 

Strong Futures Project 4

Young people told us that learning from, and engaging with, Aboriginal communities is a priority

Action
Grow opportunities for young people to engage in intercultural understanding and respect for the histories, cultures and languages of Aboriginal communities

Lead
Dept. of Human Service, Dept. for Education and Dept. of the Premier and Cabinet (Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation)

Priority Area 3 - Wellbeing and Environment

Young South Australians are safe, healthy and resilient

 

Our Goal

Young South Australians are safe, healthy and resilient. They have a strong sense of culture and identity. They have confidence and agency in the future of South Australia and the planet.

 

What we have heard…

Mental health

Issues

Young people of all ages are worried about their mental health and that of others

Mental health was a top issue of concern for young people (31.1%), as was coping with stress (45.5%)

Concerns about how mental health is handled in the community

Impacts of family breakdown, violence and abuse on young people

Regional areas

Lack of opportunities

Lack of positive activities

Crime and relationship to mental health

What young people want

The right help

Consultation in development of mental health services

Easier transition from youth to adult mental health services

Activities that promote mental wellbeing

More counselling

More mental health education

Relationships

Statistics

83.6% of young people highly valued family relationships

81.6% of young people highly valued friendships

18.2% of young people indicated their family relationships were poor or only fair

Online relationships

Online friendships offer social support and are important
to young people

Other important issues for young people

Alcohol and other drugs

Domestic and family violence

Crime

Abuse

Regional young people lack opportunities for social connection

Climate change and the environment

Community safety

What we Know

Our wellbeing can be influenced by physical, mental, economic, social or cultural elements. These elements in turn can be influenced by ourselves, others and the places we live.

Half of all mental health conditions that can be experienced at some point in our lives will have started by age 14[8]. When help is needed, for whatever reason, it’s important young people can access the right information and support at the right time.
Keeping young people safe and well and increasingly promoting positive wellbeing is critical to leading a full life.

When it comes to the environment, one of the greatest challenges facing all generations is addressing climate change related impacts and embedding sustainable environmental practices. These are issues young people are passionate about on a local, state and global stage.

Examples of initiatives that protect and promote the wellbeing of young people and the environments they interact with include:

 

Strong Futures Project 5

Young people told us that preventing financial exclusion of young people and their families and access to mental health services and better mental health awareness / decreasing of stigma was a priority

Action
Invest in prevention approaches that tackle the key issues affecting young people’s wellbeing.

Focus areas include:

  • address the drivers of violence against women
  • reduce problem gambling harm and improve financial literacy
  • promote help seeking and reduce stigma
  • support positive mental, social and physical health
  • promote social inclusion and improve suicide prevention

Lead
Dept. of Human Services and Dept. for Health and Wellbeing

 

Strong Futures Project 6

Action
Invest in providing the right information to young people, through the right means, at the right time

For example, work with young people to review current government service information.

Lead
Dept. of Human Services

Priority Area 4 - Connect and Grow

Young South Australians are engaged and have influence

 

Our Goal

Young South Australians have strong social and family connections. They are engaged in their communities and with the broader issues of society. They are able to easily and confidently interact with the services and systems they need to live active and engaged lives.

 

What we have heard…

Active citizenship

Issues

28.6% of young Australians feel their opinions are represented by politicians in government

What matters

Being involved in my commuinity

Meeting new people

Having a say

Connect and Grow top activities

Sport as a participant 60%

Sport as a spectator 37%

Volunteer work 33%

Arts/cultural/music activities 31%

Student leadership activities and youth groups 19.7%

Recreation and hobbies

What matters

Connections

Relationships – family, friends

Social engagement

Community participation

Health and wellbeing

What young people want

Funding for sport

More free after school activities

Safe, inclusive and fun places to hang – particularly in regional areas

Activities that allow sharing of culture

Children in remote areas would like to see more kids

What we Know

Building strong connections with family, peers and community is critical to wellbeing, and to building a strong sense of agency and empowerment.

We want young South Australians to have easy access to sports, arts and other recreational activities. We know that 21% of young South Australians volunteer[9] and that volunteering provides important opportunities for social connection, for learning new skills and for connecting with employment opportunities.

For this reason, our Volunteering Strategy for South Australia 2014-2021 has a focus on supporting more young South Australians to volunteer, with a range of projects in metropolitan and regional contexts. Connecting and growing is also about ensuring that young South Australians feel that their voices are represented in our communities and our democracy, by providing platforms and opportunities for young people to voice their opinions and concerns and to inform decisions that affect them, now and into the future.

Examples of initiatives that already help young people to connect and grow include:

 

Strong Futures Project 7

Young people told us that they wanted to participate in decision making that influences policy, for example climate change policy and increase in renewable energy investment in South Australia.

Action
Provide young people with opportunities to influence decision making in their life and communities

For example, consideration for a young representative on the Premier’s Climate Change Council.

Lead
Dept. of Human Services and Dept. for Environment and Water

Implementation

How we will deliver on the Plan’s actions

The Department of Human Services (DHS) is the endorsed lead agency for the Strong Futures SA Youth Action Plan. DHS has led the development of the Plan and will monitor and report back on its implementation. DHS will also facilitate ongoing engagement with young people across all stages of the Plan.

The Plan includes both a comprehensive map of existing youth-related initiatives across government agencies and the Plan’s own Strong Futures Projects. DHS will facilitate the delivery of the Strong Futures Projects. This will include supporting the necessary collaboration across government and non-government agencies by establishing a project team for each project. These teams may include government agencies, private or community sector representatives and, importantly, young representatives.

Project teams will:

  • determine the scope of the project and possible partners
  • consider priorities and resources, as well as timelines for delivery
  • oversee delivery of the actions
  • confirm measures of success for the project.

Young South Australians will be invited on a case-by-case basis to act as ‘young advisors’ on project teams. Youth involvement will be tailored to each project to ensure meaningful and relevant engagement.

The implementation of the Strong Futures SA Youth Action Plan will also utilise established engagement and stakeholder networks across the government and non-government sectors as applicable.

Monitoring Success

How we are accountable for the Plan’s outcomes

The Plan will be delivered from 2020 – 2022. DHS will report back on the Plan’s progress annually to the Social Affairs Cabinet Committee. This is a subcommittee of Cabinet that drives the development and implementation of the government’s commitment to strategic reforms in social policy from a whole of government perspective, including delivery models, resource allocation and stakeholder engagement.

The Plan is designed to be flexible and responsive to ongoing feedback and to changing priorities. Annual review led by DHS will ensure that actions can be adapted as needed and that new actions can be included as they arise.

At the conclusion of the Plan, young people, as well as government agencies and the community and private sectors, will be invited to provide feedback on progress and have input into the development of the future strategic directions for young South Australians.

All actions in the Plan have been mapped to the Outcomes Framework for Children and Young People. The framework was formally adopted in November 2019, placing South Australia at the forefront of an emerging national trend for a holistic focus on improving policy settings and service delivery to children and young people. The framework sets out to monitor, track and report the outcomes of children and young people (birth to 18 years) in five dimensions:

  • health
  • safety
  • wellbeing
  • education
  • citizenship

Although the framework targets those up to 18 years, there are many indicators still relevant for young people up to 24 years of age. This mapping will be available online as an Appendix in the final Strong Futures SA Youth Action Plan.

Key State Youth Advocates

In 2016, the South Australian Government introduced the Children and Young People (Oversight and Advocacy Bodies) Act 2016 that gives powers to the following independent bodies in South Australia:

The Act recognises the rights of children and young people in accordance with the law and those set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The bodies under the Act, are charged with representing the best interests of children and young people in South Australia, including advocacy for systems changes.

In 2018, the Marshall Government also appointed a Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People.

Another important state advocate for young people and those that work in the sector is the Youth Affairs Council of South Australia.

The state government aims to continue to maintain good working relationships with key state youth advocates.

References

Links have been provided for references where available.

1. Dept. of Human Services Review 2019 was informed by recent consultations representing 6,000+ voices of young South Australians sourced from:

2. Youth Panel Report – SA Youth Action Plan Consultation, Dept. of Human Services 2019

3. Dept. for Innovation and Skills 2020

4. ABS Census 2016

5. ABS Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers 2015

6. Australian Human Rights Commission 2014

7. Carers SA 2016

8. Beyond Blue 2020

9. Volunteering in SA Survey 2016

Contact Us

(08) 8413 8178

youthactionplan@sa.gov.au

www.youthactionplan.sa.gov.au

The lead agency for the Plan is the Department of Human Services
Website www.dhs.sa.gov.au

The information in this publication can be provided in an alternative format or another language on request.

If you would like an explanation on the Strong Futures SA Youth Action Plan in another language, please call the Translating and Interpreting Center on 1800 280 203 (option 2) and request an interpreter to contact the Department of Human Services. This interpreter service is provided at no cost to you.

All actions

As well as the Strong Futures Projects featured, the Plan also recognises a number of established actions that contribute to the best possible outcomes for all young South Australians.

Focus Area 1 Earn and Learn

Young South Australians have the necessary life skills and supports to complete school and transition confidently to further education and training or to meaningful employment.
They are building vocational pathways that reflect the changing world of work. They
are financially resilient and confident in their future.

 

No. Action
1.1 Build the foundation skills and participation of young people not in full time work and/or study
1.2 Continue core business of providing existing quality education and development opportunities from birth to secondary school
1.3 Provide vocational training opportunities that are responsive to current and emerging sector needs
1.4 Deliver 20,800 new apprenticeships and traineeships that provide valuable, practical skills in the workplace and build careers
1.5 Recruit a government workforce that is diverse and provides diverse entry opportunities, including for young people
1.6 Improve student outcomes by providing all South Australian secondary school students with access to clearly articulated VET pathways with links to employment, and high quality career education
1.7 Promote core youth employment services delivered by Commonwealth Government
1.8 Support initiatives that help low income earners start their own business through microenterprise loans, coaching, mentoring, business planning, building skills and networks
1.9 Empower Aboriginal students, parents, carers, family and community to achieve education and developmental goals
1.10 Embed intercultural understanding and international mindedness as part of every child and young person’s learning
1.11 Create entrepreneurial pathways to build partnerships with businesses, industries and communities locally, nationally and globally in secondary education sites
1.12 Connect and build the entrepreneurial ecosystem in South Australia, including showcasing people, businesses and ideas

Focus Area 2 Fair and Inclusive

Young South Australians feel confident to explore their personal potential and to access
opportunities and supports regardless of race, age, gender identity, location or ability.

 

No. Action
2.1 Develop practical actions that support social and economic outcomes for young people in regional South Australia
2.2 Invest in the capacity of youth services to deliver high quality services to young people, including in regional South Australia
2.3 Grow opportunities for young people to engage in intercultural understanding and respect for the histories, cultures and languages of Aboriginal communities
2.4 Provide stability and improve outcomes for young people in or leaving out of home care arrangements
2.5 Enhance financial inclusion of young people and their families and promote financial wellbeing
2.6 Provide place based support and services for young people across SA, including prevention and earlier intervention strategies
2.7 Continue funding key state youth advocates that represent the interests of all young South Australians, including priority groups
2.8 Prevent and protect young people from experiencing, or perpetrating, domestic, sexual and family violence
2.9 Provide inclusive sport and recreational places for young people
2.10 Ensure young people receive quality and inclusive government funded youth services and support according to best sector standards
2.11 Prevent and reduce youth homelessness through targeted and tailored responses
2.12 Reduce the barriers faced by young people living with disability and support active participation in decision making
2.13 Support young people to avoid and limit contact with the justice system and address the over representation of Aboriginal young people in the justice system
2.14 Remove barriers to access to justice for young people, by providing legal assistance services and support.

Focus Area 3 Wellbeing and Environment

Young South Australians are safe, healthy and resilient. They have a strong sense of culture
and identity. They have confidence and agency in the future of South Australia and the planet.

 

No. Action
3.1 Invest in prevention approaches that tackle the key issues affecting young people’s wellbeing
3.2 Invest in providing the right information to young people, through the right means, at the right time
3.3 Provide core state services for young people to improve their health, development and wellbeing
3.4 Support the youth not for profit sector to upgrade facilities and develop new approaches
3.5 Support young people to have positive interactions with police and build their understanding of the role of police, the law, as well as personal and cyber safety
3.6 Strengthen responses to children’s bullying both inside and outside the school gates
3.7 Continue to grow sustainable communities through education, participation and volunteering especially involving young people
3.8 Commit to climate change policy and actions to build a better world for current and future generations, including young people
3.9 Build more climate resilient and liveable places
3.10 Encourage youth and community services to operate in environments that embrace green living and sustainability principles
3.11 Ensure young people with exceptional needs can navigate systems to meet their needs and engage with appropriate service providers
3.12 Provide young people who are affected by crime appropriate counselling services and support

Focus Area 4 Connect and Grow

Young South Australians have strong social and family connections. They are engaged in their communities and with the broader issues of society. They are able to easily and confidently interact with the services and systems they need to live active and engaged lives.

 

No. Action
4.1 Provide young people with opportunities to influence decision making in their life and communities
4.2 Provide opportunities that enable young people to engage in recreational and cultural opportunities
4.3 Support young people to engage in volunteering
4.4 Recognise young people that engage in volunteering, citizenship or recreational and cultural activities
4.5 Support young people to be active in all aspects of community, leadership and democratic life
4.6 Support government departments to undertake best practice engagement with young people