The Turnbull Government’s latest budget seems reasonable for many Australians, but one group that seems to have been forgotten is our youth.
Young people are increasingly being squeezed out of Australian society due to increasing education and housing costs and diminishing employment opportunities.
No fundamental reform on negative gearing sets the housing prospects for many young Australians dangerously low. Traditional expectations of buying your own home and starting a family are shaping as a tale of the past as housing affordability skyrockets beyond an average young person’s reach.
Whilst first home buyers will be able to use voluntary amounts of their super to save for a deposit for a house it still doesn’t change the fact that Australia is one of the least affordable places to live in the world.
Makes you wonder what happened to the dream of an Aussie home for all in the Post War boom?
Education to where?
When you think it’s hard enough to buy your own house you may lose more sleep thinking about the huge amount of debt from your university tuition.
If you are lucky enough to get full time work, the annual income threshold for repaying HECs debt is being reduced from $55,000 to $42,000. Uni fees are on the rise as well. This leaves fewer options open to future students, especially since the TAFE system is declining.
A large array of private colleges and RTOs can assist you with your alternative education options, at a cost. But take care. Recently the Federal government had to crack down on private sector training providers for rorting students and local businesses.
So even if you end up in a private course outside of uni you could end up with a massive debt to your name anyway.
Hard day’s work?
So young people have it OK as long as they can pay off these huge housing repayments and education debts right? Think again.
Penalty rates are under attack for people working in retail, fast food, hospitality and the pharmacy industries.
Then there are alternative (illegal) working arrangements which unscrupulous employers use to screw people who don’t have strong bargaining power – students and young people like the 7/11 franchises where some employees had to give cash back to their employer. And the Federal Government with their unpaid internship program for young people.
And if you are unemployed, Centrelink will now denigrate you as a potential drug user.
What future for young people?
But hey, for what it’s worth, we have to ask the question: what future do we leave behind for future generations?
Climate change is only getting worse with the western world still not taking climate change more seriously.
Greed remains the norm as spivs rake in what resources we have left. The gap between the wealthy and poor steadily increases making a future economic calamity more likely.
If we don’t allow future leaders to take responsibility for our future then the Ozymandias sonnet by Percy Bysshe Shelley may become reality for us in future years to come.
My name is Ozymandias king of kings;
Look on my works ye Might and Despair!
Nothing beside remains.
Round the decay of the colossal wreck, boundless and bare.
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. As voters, we can choose a constructive way forward and pressure our politicians to pursue reform that benefits all, not just the wealthy few.
Anyone concerned for our future can help make a difference by contacting our local representatives and asking them what they are doing to help young people in our society.
You can do this by writing emails and letters, making phone calls or posting on Facebook or other social media. Here’s where you can find the contact details for some of our politicians:
- Redland City Councillors
- State parliamentarians (Don Brown, Mark Robinson, Matt McEachen, Mick de Brenni)
- Federal member for Bowman, Andrew Laming
- Senators from Queensland in the Federal Parliament.
Callen Sorensen – Karklis – May 2017
Callen is an active member of the Australian Fabians Society, ALP, Crime Stoppers, Meals on Wheels and is a Quandamooka Noonucle Indigenous person with a strong commitment to community. Callen has worked in the retail and market research sectors and is currently a student at Griffith University and works in IT.