NFP Leaders Consider Youth Issues at Govt Round-Table
19 March 2012 at 3:11 pm
Philanthropic leaders have highlighted the importance of working closely with local communities to find solutions to a number of issues facing young people at a series of round-table discussions with the Victorian Government.
Initiated by the Minister for Youth Affairs, Ryan Smith, two round-table discussions were held to find out how the business, government and philanthropic sectors can better support young Victorians.
The round-tables were attended by representatives from 21 philanthropic organisations that fund and address youth issues including Mission Australia, Australian Communities Foundation and Philanthropy Australia.
The Director of the Office for the Community Sector, Lynne Wannan, Ryan Smith and representatives from the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) were also in attendance.
Bruce Argyle, Director of Memberships and Partnerships at Philanthropy Australia said that the workshop format discussions addressed the question of ‘what does the philanthropy sector see as priorities for youth?’
“The organisations [that were] present have a strong interest in addressing issues facing young people. We all recognise that the government has far more resources than we do,” Argyle said.
“For every $1 philanthropy gives to community and social justice issues, the government gives ten times as much, so it’s about finding a way to make a bigger impact.”
Argyle said that the philanthropic sector welcomed the opportunity to discuss youth issues and “influence youth projects rolled out by the Victorian government”.
Argyle said that the round-tables allowed the philanthropic community to have an input into government policy and priorities. “Philanthropists are keen to be influencers of policy and priorities involving youth projects,” he said.
Minister for Youth Affairs Ryan Smith said that close to one million young people aged 12 – 25 live in Victoria with the majority of young people faring well but that some groups are “disengaged”.
“Youth issues are complex and it is imperative that government works alongside the corporate and philanthropic sectors to develop innovative solutions,” Smith said.
Smith said that the government is looking at a number of issues facing young people including the effects of social media, encouraging employment and pathways opportunities and investment in volunteering and mentoring programs.
“Business and philanthropic organisations already provide valuable support and significant investment to many community organisations across Victoria,” Smith said.
“It is important that Government is aware of the work that is being done and to play an active role in looking at how government can better support initiatives where appropriate.”
“The discussions that took place are the beginning of a series of conversations that will help build common goals.
“This is about coming together to see how we can all better support young people in Victoria,” Smith said.
Smith said that the government will continue conversations with organisations throughout the year about ideas and steps going forward.
Argyle said he hopes that the discussions will be the start of an ongoing relationship between the philanthropic sector and the Victorian government.
“You’d like to think this [the discussions] will influence the next budget, but it wasn’t put as strongly as that,” Argyle said.
Smith said that the Office for Youth is currently reviewing comments provided by the sector at the round-tables.
The philanthropic organisations involved in the round-table discussions:
Foundation for Young Australians
Bendigo Adelaide Bank
Helen McPherson Smith Trust
R.E. Ross Trust
Ian Potter Foundation
Jobs Australia Foundation
Inner North Community Foundation
Australian Communities Foundation
Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation
5 point Foundation