Young People

Many say that young people are the future, but the Greens recognise that young people have power and agency now – and we don’t need to wait for them to “grow up” to recognise their value and their opinions.

Young people also face substantial challenges. They face a society that often fails to value their contributions, politicians who prioritise short term electoral gain ahead of their long term future, a housing market in crisis and a lack of jobs and employment opportunities. They face barriers to and criticisms for advocating for themselves and their communities, and are not recognised by most decision-making systems and processes.

All young people have the right to participate, fully and actively, in community life and in the development and implementation of policies and decisions that affect them.

The Greens believe:

  1. Children and young people have a right to a loving and nurturing environment which is free of physical, emotional and sexual abuse, neglect, exploitation and discrimination.

  2. To reach their full potential and live a healthy life, children and young people should have equitable access to resources, education and opportunities for personal growth, lifelong learning, and participation in decision making about their lives.

  3. The needs and views of young people should be taken into account by all those involved in developing and implementing policies that impact on young people.

  4. All children and young people have a right to access appropriate services regardless of where they live or the socio-economic status of their parents.

  5. Prevention strategies play a significant role in setting children and young people up for lifelong success and giving them a good start in life. The development and implementation of policies and strategies which emphasise prevention and early intervention reduce future harm to people and in the long term is a cost saving to society.

  6. Quality outdoor green spaces are essential for healthy childhood development including physical, psychological and social health.

  7. Institutionalisation is detrimental to the health and wellbeing of children and young people.

  8. Young people have the right to a future which guarantees employment, democracy, peace and a sustainable environment.

The Greens will:

  1. Ensure that program funding, service delivery and decisions regarding child protection are consistent with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

  2. Ensure that children and young people have the means to meaningfully participate and express themselves in their community and at all levels of government, through the National Children's Commissioner and other federal or state/territory youth advisory bodies.

  3. Increase national and state coordination in children and youth policy formulation.

  4. Develop public spaces and recreational facilities that are safe, accessible, affordable and that welcome young people.

  5. Improve education and secure, satisfying, employment opportunities for young people, including in remote, rural and regional areas.

  6. Ensure availability of affordable, accessible and secure housing options for young people, especially for those in transition from at-risk situations.

  7. Seek to reduce the rates of suicide and mental illness among children and young people through adequate funding for mental health services.

  8. Ensure availability of adequately funded children's and young people's services, particularly for addressing mental health, suicide, drug and substance use, sexual and reproductive health, disability or special care and protection needs.

  9. Ensure availability of programs to keep young people out of the criminal justice system and avoid institutionalisation, and to reduce the risk of reoffending.

  10. Ensure that imprisonment is an absolute last resort for children and young people who have committed serious violent or dangerous offences, noting existing and potential new alternatives to imprisonment.

  11. Introduce electoral law reform to allow young people aged 16 and 17 to vote.

  12. Push for the promotion of healthy food, including a ban on junk food advertising on children's television.

  13. Push for an increased investment in programs that focus on community awareness, prevention and reporting of abuse against children and young people.

  14. Ensure availability of well-funded high quality services for child survivors of abuse and neglect.

  15. Support the development of new, and the improvement of existing, education and preventive health programs for children and young people.

  16. Increase programs and services to redress inequitable outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.

  17. Ensure availability of dedicated programs and services to address the needs of young people from diverse communities, including multicultural and LGBTIQ youth.

  18. Support measures to address the sexualisation of children and young people in media and advertising.

  19. Raise the age of criminal responsibility to 14 years.

  20. Address the over-representation of First Nations people in the child protection system.

  21. Fund community-based programs that identify young people at risk of committing crime and provide counselling and support to them.

  22. Support sentencing policies and programs that divert young people convicted of crimes away from detention.

  23. Protect the rights of young people at work, including the right to fair pay and conditions.

  24. Greater promotion and public recognition of the diverse and positive contributions that young people make to their communities and to the political and cultural life of South Australia.

  25. Ensure all government-funded service providers are accountable, transparent and provide services without evangelism or discrimination on any grounds

  26. Develop protocols for the screening for Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder of all children and young people coming into the child protection or youth justice systems.

  27. Ensure that all children and young people coming into the child protection or youth justice systems are screened for Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and that appropriate supports are readily available to all affected people and their carers.

(Young People Policy as amended by The Greens SA Policy and Campaigns Council April 2021)