Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) thanks the outgoing Premier, The Hon Daniel Andrews for nine years of strong and ambitious service. We warmly congratulate The Hon Jacinta Allan MP on her appointment as successive Premier. As a regional MP, we are optimistic about Premier Allan’s commitment to meaningful outcomes for rural and regional communities.
YACVic will remember Andrews by his steady leadership and commitment to social reform, and we are pleased to have worked closely and collaboratively with his government. His humour, plain language and clever social media presence also made him a relatable leader for young people.
The Andrews Government leaves a legacy of significant reforms and initiatives, including:
Mental health reforms. We welcomed the Andrews Government’s commitment to action on every single recommendation from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System. YACVic has been proud to support the government in this with the inclusion of young people with lived experience of mental ill health in the Interim Regional Bodies, a Mental Health Youth Expert Advisory Group, and youth-targeted communications explaining the reforms.
Education reforms including free TAFE and disability inclusion. Free TAFE is already helping several young Victorians access education by significantly reducing the financial burdens of study. In particular, the addition of Certificate IV in Youth Work, as well as various courses in mental health and disability services, will pave the way for the next generation of youth workers. YACVic continues to advocate for the inclusion of the Diploma of Youth Work on the free TAFE list.
Disability Inclusion reform created a new tiered funding model and school staff training to ensure disabled students are supported in government schools, grounded in a strengths-based approach.
Banning Conversion Therapy was an important, necessary reform for the safety of LGBTIQA+ young people. The Andrews Government also established a civil response scheme to support survivors and address the harm they experienced.
Treaty process in Victoria. The Andrews Government listened to the call of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. They were Australia’s first state government to establish Treaty and truth-telling processes, holding the government accountable to their historic and ongoing injustices against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Disaster response. The Andrews Government responded quickly to the unique needs of rural and regional young people impacted by bushfires and floods in recent years, funding recovery programs led by young people and youth services.
COVID-19. As we heard Daniel Andrews say many times, his government ‘stayed the course’ during the worst of the pandemic to keep all Victorians safe. Funding for the Disability Outreach Program which enabled disabled people to access additional advocacy support, and a commitment to making vaccination and COVID-safety information accessible with youth service partnerships (including with YACVic and YDAS), were appreciated by young people and the youth sector. Now as we feel the long-term impacts of COVID, we hope to work with the new government to continue supporting young people and our sector.
Home Stretch. This is a much-needed initiative which provides continued support for Victorian young people in care with their transition to adulthood, from 18 to 21 years of age. It provides accommodation allowance, case work support, and education, employment, health and wellbeing funding which helps to ensure these young people achieve their goals.
Affirmative consent legislation was a landmark reform for young people’s sexual safety and wellbeing and the funded programs that have followed are making sure this remains the case in practice. YACVic was funded to co-lead an Affirmative Consent Consortia, as well as our peer-led affirmative consent education program Yeah, Nah being delivered throughout the Mallee.
The Transition Support Package was a bridging program to support the disabled community in Victoria to prepare for the rollout of the NDIS; YDAS was funded to provide targeted support to disabled young people around the state.
Portable long service leave. The youth sector continues to face short funding cycles, short contracts and worker shortages. The introduction of portable long service leave is one benefit that can encourage workers to stay in the sector.
YACVic thank the Andrews Government for this leadership, and we are optimistic about collaborating with the Allan Government for a safe, equitable and fair Victoria in the best interests of young people.
Media contact: Media & Communications Coordinator Katia Pellicciotta (she/her) - KPellicciotta@YACVic.org.au or 0498 730 553.
Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic) is the peak body and leading policy advocate for young people aged 12-25 and the youth sector in Victoria. Established in 1960, YACVic advocates for the rights of young people in Victoria to ensure they are active, visible and valued in their communities.