The Napthine Government’s budget cuts to employment services for young Victorians have been condemned at a rally held on the steps of Parliament today, Shadow Minister for Children and Young Adults Jenny Mikakos said.

Ms Mikakos who attended the rally with Shadow Employment Minister Tim Pallas said the rally was attended by representatives from St Kilda Youth Service (SKYS) and Whitelion, including young people involved in these programs.

“SKYS and Whitelion provide assistance to young people, particularly vulnerable young job seekers, to help them find a job,” Ms Mikakos said.

“But these groups learnt after the budget was released that their State funding was being cut. What this shows is that this Government doesn’t understand the difficulties faced by young people looking for work.

“These youth employment programs not only employ young people, but they provide them with the skills to get a job and keep it.

“Four valuable programs groups are set to lose between $150,000-$250,000 each year, forcing these groups to either cancel or downscale their programs for next year.”

Mr Pallas said the cuts came at time when the Napthine Government should be investing in getting young people into work “These are the cruellest cuts this Government
could make on one of the most exposed groups in the state, at a time when Victoria has the highest youth unemployment rate in the country,” Mr Pallas said.

“These groups help young people who have dropped out of school, are involved in the youth system, are at risk of homelessness, recovering from substance abuse or have struggled to stay in employment.”

Member for Albert Park Martin Foley said the cut was the latest in a long line of cuts that was going to have a profound impact for kids from troubled backgrounds.

“There are hundreds of kids in my electorate that the St Kilda Youth Service has helped, literally turning their lives around – these people shouldn’t be the target of Mr Napthine’s budget cuts,” he said. 

“Sadly however, these its young people like these are the victims, through the $300 cuts to TAFE, the ongoing assault on schools and now the cuts to these youth services.

“Why is always the most vulnerable in our community that pay the price of cuts made by Mr Napthine and the Liberal Government?”

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