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August edition (n.144) is now available.

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part 1

YFX August 2008

Feature article

Why Australia should be improving, not abandoning, the collection of alcohol sales data

The Australian Bureau of Statistics might cease to report national alcohol consumption estimates derived from sales data and the latest issue of the 'Medical Journal of Australia' contains an editorial about why we should be concerned. Titled, 'Alcohol sales data are essential for good public policies towards alcohol', the article spells out the implications are for policymakers, community action groups and public health researchers, saying that good data on alcohol use and alcohol-related harm in the Australian population is "essential" for informing debates about alcohol policy, especially concerning Australia's youth:
"The recent change of federal government has brought a renewed policy interest in alcohol use. The alcohol industry claims that this interest is misplaced, citing data which suggest that per capita alcohol use and frequency of consumption, as indicated by household surveys, have been relatively stable for over a decade. However, there are doubts about the quality of these alcohol trend data, and the most recent survey data certainly indicate there is cause for concern. In 2007, one in five Australians over the age of 14, including nearly half (44%) of young men and around a third of young women aged 20-29 years, reported drinking in risky ways monthly or more often. The alcohol industry derives substantial profits from risky drinking, with -- on conservative estimates -- two-thirds of all alcohol, and 80% of alcohol used by young people aged 14-24 years, consumed in ways that put the drinker's (and others') health at risk."
"Australia is now in danger of failing to collect alcohol sales data at a time when community concern about alcohol is increasing and the quality of survey data may be declining".
If Australia stops collecting alcohol sales data, the country would be "the only OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) country to not collect national alcohol consumption data". Such data provides "essential information to monitor trends in per capita alcohol use, which is strongly related to adverse health outcomes such as liver cirrhosis, motor vehicle crashes, and suicide".
In addition, the World Health Organization has recommended that "public health monitoring of alcohol use should include credible estimates of per capita alcohol consumption derived from alcohol sales data, in addition to well conducted population surveys of drinking patterns".
The extracts above are from an editorial in the 'Medical Journal of Australia', titled, 'Alcohol sales data are essential for good public policies towards alcohol', 2008, by Wayne D Hall, Tanya N Chikritzhs, Peter H N d'Abbs and Robin G W Room, 'eMJA', v.189, n.4, pp.188-189. The editorial is accessible on the 'eMJA' website, once you complete the step of registering as a reader (free), at:

Why the alcopop tax IS working: Community Alcohol Action Network

The Community Alcohol Action Network or CAAN website carries a media release (28 July 2008) which cites the Australian Drug Foundation (ADF) as having taken aim at the liquor lobby for "misleading the public about the Federal Government's tax increase on ready-to-drink beverages (RTDs)". The ADF says the figures released by the Liquor Merchants of Australia are inconclusive. ADF spokesperson Geoff Munro says we should be careful about how the alcohol industry is interpreting the figures: "The industry is being misleading. Increasing taxes is a proven and effective method of decreasing sales of alcohol to young people. There is no proof that subsequent spirit sales are to underage drinkers, rather than adults who also purchased RTDs." Geoff Munro believes that this tax "will work on young people. If the decrease in RTD consumption has resulted from the decrease in availability to this group, then the tax must be praised as a success. What's more, by preventing future drinkers from being introduced to alcohol so early in life, this tax will prove most worthwhile," and he continues: "The liquor industry's claims that young people have simply switched to bottled spirits is unproven, especially when the evidence is considered ... Their statistics showing alcopops have declined by 30% while spirits sales have increased by 46% doesn't tell us anything about young people's drinking. As many RTD drinkers are adults they may now be buying bottled spirits. The real effect of any tax increase won't be known for at least 12 months". (Source: Media release, 'Why the alcopop tax is working', 28 July 2008, viewed 19 August 2008,
Note: CAAN and the GrogWatch team would like to know what you think of GrogWatch, and invite you to complete their short survey at:


Coming up in the September issue of 'Youth Studies Australia'

The September issue of the ACYS quarterly journal 'Youth Studies Australia' contains a mix of articles plus a sneak preview from our forthcoming three-volume series, 'Doing youth work in Australia', which will feature the 'best of' 'Youth Studies Australia' articles for the past 20 plus years.
Richard Eckersley's 1995 paper 'Values and visions: Youth and the failure of modern Western culture' is featured in this issue of 'Youth Studies Australia' to demonstrate not only the calibre of papers that will be reproduced in our 'Doing youth work in Australia' series, but also the continued relevance of these 'classic' papers from the journal. The 'Doing youth work in Australia' series is compiled by Rob White, Professor of Environmental Criminology in the School of Sociology and Social Work at the University of Tasmania. More on its availability in a later edition of this newsletter.
The other papers in the September 2008 issue of 'Youth Studies Australia' are:
* Online network use in schools: Social and educational opportunities by Tanya Notley
* The real cost of linking homeless young people to employment, education and training, by Robyn Broadbent
* Meeting the needs of marginalised young men: An analysis of service provision by Mindy Sotiri
* "This is not a rave!": Changes in the commercialised Melbourne rave/dance party scene by Christine Siokou and David Moore.

ACYS youth-related books: Winter sale

The Australian Clearinghouse for Youth Studies, publisher of the peer-reviewed journal 'Youth Studies Australia' and of this newsletter, is currently having a winter book sale, with many of its titles on youth issues significantly reduced in price (e.g. 'Youth subcultures' at $15 plus $7 in postage) This offer lasts for just another few days and ends on 31 August 2008 or while stocks last. For a list of books discounted, see or
phone Sue Dilley at ACYS, University of Tasmania, (03) 6226 2591.

AYRC youth research report series give-away

The Australian Youth Research Centre at the University of Melbourne also has a special offer at this time, with some of its regular reports (Research Reports (RR) and Working Papers (WP) series free to those who will collect them from the centre itself at level 2, 234 Queensberry Street, Carlton, Victoria, or
phone Rhonda Christopher at the AYRC, University of Melbourne, (03) 8344 9634.

'Re-Imagining Sociology' and youth research

Those involved in research with young people will be interested to know that the Australian Sociological Association (TASA) conference for 2008, 'Re-Imagining Sociology' will be held on 2-5 December in Melbourne. There will be a youth research stream at this conference, offering an opportunity for youth researchers to share what is new and to hear about each other's work. Abstracts are due on Monday 29 September, and should be submitted online at: See the conference web page for more details: Earlybird registration closes on Monday 13 October 2008. Enquiries: Ani Wierenga and Johanna Wyn, University of Melbourne, email: wierenga[at]

Longitudinal Study of Australian Youth news

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) are currently developing a dedicated website for the Longitudinal Study of Australian Youth. It will be released in early September. For details contact: Adriana Turner
Project Administrator, LSAY Branch, National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER), PO Box 8288 Station Arcade SA 5000, ph: (08) 8230 8686; fax: (08) 8212 3436;

International youth research news

Call for papers: Generations in flux: International interdisciplinary conference on ethnicity, integration and family ties, Finland, October 23-24 October 2008

The deadline for abstracts for this conference is 31 August 2008. The Finnish Society for the Study of Ethnic Relations and International Migration and the Finnish Youth Research Society are organising this international interdisciplinary conference, and invite researchers from different disciplines to submit papers to this conference on questions of age, life course, identity and migration. "Our main objective is to discuss social and psychological processes, and forms of culture in generational encounters related to migration and new patterns of transmission of 'the old to the new'. There is a growing, and interdisciplinary, interest in migration, integration, multiculturalism and transnationalism. However, relatively little attention has been paid to age, family and intergenerational aspects, although these issues are implicitly present in many migration and integration studies ... By highlighting phenomena such as social memory, individual agency, multiple memberships, acculturation, and personal experiences of past, present and future, we could gain deeper knowledge on what is shared, contested or even denied within and between families, youth cultures and ethnic or cultural communities." More information about the conference, including fees and registration, as well as about the submission of abstracts and session themes are available at (Source: Email, from Carsten Yndigegn to the email discussion list, ESA-YOUTH, 11 August 2008, and the Finnish Youth Research Society website, viewed 19 August 2008,

More in part 2 ...

part 2


This newsletter organises news items by topic, and welcomes contributions from readers. See the website for how to contribute your news,


New title from ACYS Publishing hailed as 'a superb analysis of the Australian music scene'

"A superb analysis of the Australian music scene" is how a 'Sydney Morning Herald' reviewer (2-3 August 2008, 'Spectrum' p. 31) has described the latest book from ACYS Publishing. 'Sounds of then, sounds of now: Popular music in Australia', edited by Shane Homan and Tony Mitchell (ISBN: 978 1 875236 60 2) is available at from ACYS Publishing at the University of Tasmania at $49.95 (including GST) plus $7 postage. Ph: (03) 6226 2591, or see:


United Nations Youth Association of Australia (UNYA): 'YouthSpeak: A conversation for the future'
(reviewed for YFX by Kate Gross, Australian Clearinghouse for Youth Studies)

The report 'YouthSpeak: A conversation for the future' describes findings from the YouthSpeak consultation project, reportedly 'the largest for-youth-by-youth consultation in Australian history'. This consultation was commissioned by the Australian Government and undertaken by the United Nations Youth Association of Australia (UNYA). The report was released by the Hon. Kate Ellis MP, Minister for Youth, in July 2008.
According to the report's introduction, the findings offer "a unique insight into the voices, ideas and concerns of young Australians". Over 12,000 young people aged 12 to 24 years took part in the consultations, which were designed and administered by young people. Young people were also involved in data analysis and the drafting of the report. The questions asked as part of the consultation were divided into three parts: demographic questions, questions about young people's civic engagement, and questions about the issues of importance to young Australians.
The main section of the 'YouthSpeak' report is divided into thematic, qualitative chapters, based on the major issues of concern raised by participants (listed here in descending order of frequency): environment, international issues, education, affordability, communities, health, infrastructure, relationships, recreation, and Indigenous affairs. As well as giving an overview of the data gathered, these chapters compare the results of the YouthSpeak consultations with a number of other reports on the views of young people: the Australia 2020 Youth Summit Communiqué, the Mission Australia National Youth Survey 2007, the Foundation for Young Australians' Profile of Young Australians and, interestingly, the 1986 Survey of Community Attitudes to Issues Affecting Young People (published by the then Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet's Office of Youth Affairs).
While the YouthSpeak consultations generated rich findings, due to budgetary and time constraints, the project fell short of the original idea to undertake a formal national youth survey. The report itself highlights the ongoing need for such a survey and recommends that "the Australian Government fund a large-scale, probability-weighted National Youth Survey to provide an evidence base for future policy development, and that this survey be conducted by the Australian Youth Forum upon its formation".
A limited number of hard copies of the report are available for $30 (plus postage) from the UNYA. For more information, or to download individual chapters of the YouthSpeak report, visit the UNYA website: or contact Natalie Garcia de Heer, YouthSpeak Project Co-ordinator: youthspeak[at] Some primary data from the consultations may, at the discretion of the YouthSpeak Steering Committee, be released to organisations and individuals undertaking research in relevant areas: forward any inquiries to the email address listed above. (Source: Garcia de Heer, N. 2008, 'YouthSpeak: A conversation for the future', United Nations Youth Association of Australia.)


CREATE Report Card 2008: Additional government resources recommended for young people leaving care

The CREATE Foundation, a national organisation committed to creating opportunities for young people in care, has released a new report in its series of report cards on young people leaving out-of-home care. The 'CREATE report card 2008: Transitioning from care', by Dr Joseph McDowall, points out the lack of support and resources being provided for young people ageing out of care, and highlights the gap between the development and implementation of policies to help these young people. The report card indicates that if governments were to provide adequate resources for young people leaving care, it would be a 'stitch in time', preventing a huge social and economic cost in the future. For further information, or to download a PDF of the report card, visit the CREATE Foundation website: (Source: 'YAPRap', v.18, n.8, August 2008, p.14.)

Views of children and young people in foster care, residential care and detention centres in Queensland. Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian, Queensland, 2008.

The first phase of this cross-sectional longitudinal research, which investigates and documents the views of children and young people in alternative care (foster care and residential care) and in detention centres in Queensland, was conducted in 2006, and the second in 2007. The research helps the Queensland Children's Commissioner to identify changes in the views of these young people. Increasingly, findings from this research are being used to inform policy and practice decision-making among stakeholders in the Queensland child protection and youth justice systems. To date, a total of 4,882 children and young people have participated in the research. The Australian Policy Online website at: provides a useful summary of the most recent research report on the project. Full text of the research reports can be downloaded in PDF format from the website of the Commission for Children and Young People and Child Guardian, Queensland, at: or:


'One+1' online youth magazine

SkillsOne is a television channel and website dedicated to raising the profile of trades and skills through impassioned story-telling. Its online magazine, 'One+1', has the look of a print magazine, with pages that turn like a real book, but inside are videos and clickable links with stories of inspiring people, including competitors at the Olympic Games who have a trade or skills background. See: (Source: 'YAPRap', newsletter of the Youth Action and Policy Association, August 2008, p.17.)

'Australian Career Practitioner': Call for articles

Researchers are invited to submit articles for the Spring 2008 edition of the 'Australian Career Practitioner' (ACP) magazine. The ACP is distributed nationally to members of the Career Development Association of Australia (CDAA) four times a year. CDAA is the largest professional network of career practitioners in Australia. Its members work with clients in a range of settings, such as organisational development, outplacement, private counselling practice, educational institutions, rehabilitation and government. The editor is particularly keen to receive articles relating to research, human resource development, life-long learning, employability or decision-making. Themes may range from contemporary issues, research, theoretical and practical frameworks or client management to resources, industry trends, case studies and managing a small careers business. More at:, or contact Lee Miles, guest editor of the spring edition, ph: (08) 9464 4114, email: mileslee[at]

'Work Matters' work readiness DVD resource for young people

In Victoria, LLENs (local learning and employment networks) make wide use of mentoring as a strategy to help youth and this DVD resource has been produced by Victoria's South East LLEN. As more and more young people participate in Work Experience and Structured Workplace Learning (SWL) placements with an ever broader range of employers, those who work in the "school to work transition business" may find this resource helpful for their young clients. The 'Work Matters' Work Readiness DVD shows young people how to find a work placement, how to dress for success and how to manage employer expectations, workplace issues and accidents and employability skills, and does so by following three students through their work placement experience. The DVD can be used as a stand-alone resource or as part of a workshop, and also has a 'train the trainer' package accompanying the DVD for use by schools and other education providers. Victoria's South East LLEN say that "local research" has shown work experience or work placement is "often the first time a student enters a workplace so it is important that students are educated about workplace expectations. If this is done correctly the likelihood of their work placement running smoothly will increase giving them a positive experience and understanding of the world of work". For more details, contact Simon Rickard or Danielle West, Career Pathway Programs (CPP), South East LLEN, Dandenong, Victoria; ph: (03) 9706 8711; email: cpp[at];


New civics education resource: 'Count me in!'

'Count me in!' is the Australian Electoral Commission's new educational publication for secondary students and adult learners. It's also a great reference for teachers of younger students and anyone interested in our system of democracy. 'Count me in!' is a revamped version of the AEC's former classroom resource, the 'Australian Democracy Magazine'. The new resource still covers topics such as how we are represented in the Commonwealth Parliament, how we elect our representatives, conduct referendums and count the votes, and also includes the latest legislative changes and updated graphics. 'Count me in!' can be downloaded as a PDF from the AEC website at: (Source: email, 8 August 2008.)


NSW Ombudsman reports slow progress with interagency work

In 2002, a cross-agency Senior Officers Group was formed to improve the outcomes for people with an intellectual disability in contact with the criminal justice system. In August this year, the NSW Ombudsman, Bruce Barbour, tabled a report in the NSW Parliament that examines the progress of the Senior Officers Group towards meeting its objectives. That report notes that:
* The progress of the group has been slow.
* While a number of significant initiatives have begun in the five years since the group was formed, key areas of work have yet to be finalised or brought to a point where they can be evaluated.
* Given the significant and financial cost of poor inter-departmental collaboration, more needs to be done to strengthen cross-agency service delivery for offenders with an intellectual disability.
In 2010, the Senior Officers Group will undertake a review of its progress, including evaluations of the impact of its work. The Ombudsman will continue to closely monitor progress. For a copy of the report go to or ph (02) 9286 1000. (Source: email message, Mandy Loundar, Youth Liaison Officer, NSW Ombudsman, ph: (02) 9286 1094.)


DrugInfo Clearinghouse news

A summary and audio downloads of the DrugInfo Clearinghouse interactive seminar and forum, 'Alcohol and young people: The role of parents', held in Melbourne on Wednesday 16 July 2008, is now available on the DrugInfo Clearinghouse website, at:

'Young people and drugs: What parents need to know'

The recently updated pamphlet, 'Young people and drugs: What parents need to know' from the DrugInfo Clearinghouse provides a "great starting point for any parent concerned about drugs". It includes basic information about drugs, common myths about drug use and what to do if a parent suspects their child is using drugs. Contact details for support services and more information are also included. A single free copy of the pamphlet is available to all DrugInfo Clearinghouse members located within Australia. To request your free copy, email your name, organisation and postal address to druginfo[at] or ph: 1300 85 85 84. Subsequent copies can be ordered through the Australian Drug Foundation (ADF) resource catalogue or online at:
Other resources available from the ADF include:
* '6', a DVD featuring six young men talking about their lives and dealing with issues such as self-esteem, sexuality, suicide, relationships, crime and drink-driving (reviewed in a previous issue of this newsletter);
* 'Drug use and mental health', a textbook considering the evidence base, clinical responses, the challenges of treatment and personal perspectives related to drug use and mental health;
* 'A young lady's guide to alcohol' and 'A young gentleman's guide to alcohol', two foldout brochures that provide alcohol information to young people, including the different risks of drinking for young women and men.

Drugs and driving: survey responses needed from rural communities and from NSW!

In their latest news bulletin, the DrugInfo Clearinghouse writes: "The drugs and driving website survey has had a great response, but would love to hear more opinions, particularly from people in rural communities and from people in NSW." Visit the drugs and driving website ( and complete the short survey, and you will be in the draw to win one of five double passes to Hoyts Cinemas.

Tackling tobacco

The Cancer Council NSW Tackling Tobacco Program helps social service organisations to develop ways to support disadvantaged people with quitting smoking. Grants of up to $20,000 are available for social service organisations to develop such projects, and the closing date for applications is 1 September 2008. The grant application and guidelines are at: Enquiries: Jill Morris, The Cancer Council NSW, ph: (02) 9334 1478, email: jillm[at] (Source: 'YAPRap', newsletter of the Youth Action and Policy Association, August 2008.)


The national training system's e-learning priorities

Australia's training system has taken an "innovative approach in responding to the challenges of a modern economy and the training needs of Australian businesses and workers" according to the EDNA Newsletter, 'The Communicator' (n.6, 26 June 2008). Known as the Australian Flexible Learning Framework, the e-learning strategy has awarded funding to support more than 90 registered training organisations to deliver innovative e-learning solutions for the vocational education and training system.

Your guide to social e-learning

The Australian Flexible Learning Framework has released a new resource about social e-learning for teachers, trainers, educators and facilitators working in vocational and educational training within adult training organisations, universities and schools. There are guides, case studies, strategies, tools and activities that explore the opportunities and challenges offered by social e-learning in practice. See the Australian Flexible Learning Framework website, at: (Source: EDNA Newsletter, 'The Communicator", Issue 6, 26 June 2008, viewed 19 August 2008.)

Deferring a university offer in regional Victoria (interim report), Youth Affairs Council of Victoria, August 2008

YACVic has just released the above report on the rate of deferrals of tertiary education by rural and regional students in Victoria. Commissioned by YACVic and 14 of Victoria's Local Learning Employment Networks (LLENs), the report found that 15.7% of regional Victorian school completers had deferred their tertiary studies in 2007. This figure is two-and-a-half times the rate of deferral by metropolitan students. The report is part of a longitudinal study carried out by the Centre for Post-Compulsory Education and Lifelong Learning at the University of Melbourne and provides information on the first 12 months of data gathered from 897 respondents. (Source: , viewed 19 August 2008, and the report at: (PDF; 268kb)

Vocational education and training statistics

The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) published the following reports recently:
* Australian vocational education and training statistics: Apprentices and trainees 2007
Released on 31 July 2008, this report presents data on apprentices and trainees in Australia from 1997 to 2007. It provides summary data, as well as additional information on training rates, completion rates, training within the trades and training duration. See the NCVER website: and for highlights from this report, see: The full text in PDF format is at:
* Australian vocational education and training statistics: Students and courses 2007
This NCVER report shows that growth in student numbers in Australia's public vocational education and training (VET) system varied between the states and territories in 2007. The report shows the largest increases occurred in Tasmania (up 5.0%), Northern Territory (up 4.3%) and Western Australia (up 3.7%). A summary of this report is at: and the report itself can be downloaded from the NCVER website at:


OECD project: Jobs for Youth

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has launched a new project on Jobs for Youth in 16 member countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Greece, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, the Slovak Republic, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. Each country report will be presented at a national seminar and will include reform proposals. At the end of the review process, a synthesis report will be presented at a High-level Policy Forum of the Employment, Labour and Social Affairs Committee. The Australian report was not yet online at the time this newsletter was issued (19 August 2008). The reports are published in English or French only. See:

Employment Outlook 2008 - How does Australia compare?

This report from the OECD takes an annual look at key issues in employment. This document highlights findings from the Employment Outlook Edition 2008 relevant to Australia. See:

'No Frills' 2008: The 17th National Vocational Education and Training Research Conference (University of Tasmania, Newnham Campus, Launceston, 9-11 July)

The challenge to employment in Australia caused by climate change was the focus of a keynote presentation at this national research conference organised by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER). Oona Nielssen, Executive Director of the Dusseldorp Skills Forum, said climate change presented Australia with its greatest economic risk, but opportunities also existed to create an estimated 3.25 million new 'green collar' jobs by 2025. However she said the acceptance of the need for new, environmentally sustainable 'green collar' jobs, and the new skills to go with them, has been slow. (Source: NCVER media release, 10 July 2008, at:

'Growing the green collar economy'

This report from the CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems and the Allen Consulting Group explores the skills, innovation and employment dimensions of the transition to a more environmentally sustainable society, with a particular focus on the challenges involved in achieving deep cuts in greenhouse emissions. The main report by the CSIRO was commissioned by the Dusseldorp Skills Forum (DSF) and released jointly with the Australian Conservation Foundation. It is available on the DSF website,

Reluctant learners: Their identities and educational experiences, by Ruth Wallace 2008. National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER)

Drawing on interviews with students in regional and rural areas of the Northern Territory, this paper looks at their participation in education and training. The paper suggests that learning strategies which acknowledge rural learners' identities may be successful in engaging regional and remote learners in education and training. More at: , or download the full text at:

1.2 million young people unemployed in the UK

The number of young people in the UK who are both unemployed and not in full-time education now stands at more than 1.2 million, according to the UK charity The Prince's Trust. Citing figures from the UK's Office for National Statistics, the charity said in the last three months, more than two in five people who became unemployed were aged under 25. Source: 'Youth Work Now', the online UK magazine at : or: (free access after registering with the website).

Keeping track of youth unemployment in Australia

The Parliamentary Library (Parliament of Australia) issues a 'Monthly statistical bulletin' (ISSN 1835-6389) containing a selection of the latest economic and social statistics. It is issued during the first week of each month and contains statistics available on or before the day of release. The bulletin is at: and its section 1.5 gives an overview of youth unemployment in Australia (see: )


The Otesha Project (Australia)

Since 2000, the Otesha Project has pedalled across Australia educating youth and raising awareness about environmental sustainability and social justice issues. Otesha is a Swahili word for 'reason to dream' and is the underlining philosophy of the organisation. The Otesha crew combines theatre performance with interactive workshops to empower high school students to consider their life choices to ensure a positive future. Currently, the Otesha Project (Australia): Cycling for Sustainability is making massive preparations for its two upcoming bicycle tours in NSW and Victoria. Applications for participation are invited, see details at: and apply before 19 September 2008.


AIFS 10th Conference 2008 papers/presentations are available for download

Papers from the proceedings of the 10th Australian Institute of Family Studies conference, Families Through Life (held in Melbourne, 9-11 July 2008) are available on the AIFS website at:


Adolescent Health GP Resource Kit, 2nd edition

This resource, subtitled, 'Enhancing the skills of General Practitioners in caring for young people from culturally diverse backgrounds, by Peter Chown, Melissa Kang, Lena Sanci, Verity Newnham and David Bennett, will be launched by the NSW Minister for Health, Reba Meagher, at the Children's Hospital at Westmead on 27 August 2008.
Although this Kit is designed primarily for GPs, it is also useful for people working in the youth health sector. The kit outlines the skills needed for working with young people and their families, while addressing the developmental, cultural and environmental factors that influence their health status. The revised edition of the kit has an increased emphasis on youth-friendly consultation skills: engagement and communication with young people; revised and expanded sections on substance use, mental health, cultural competency, medico-legal issues, collaborative care, cultural competency, and the use of Medicare item numbers. Each chapter in the kit begins with a 'flashcard' that summarises the key practice points for that particular chapter. The resource is a joint initiative of the NSW Centre for the Advancement of Adolescent Health (NSW CAAH) and Transcultural Mental Health Centre. Copies of the kit can be obtained from Kids Health, ph: (02)9845 3585; email: kidsh[at] Unit Price: $35 for one copy; $30 for two or more copies (incl. GST excl. postage) It can also be downloaded from:

"Now what...?" Dealing with your parent's cancer

This new and innovative resource has been developed for young people by CanTeen, the youth cancer charity. The resource is intended for use by 12- to 24-year-olds who have a parent diagnosed with cancer. The book and online resource provide information, practical tips, support and advice on a wide range of areas that affect the lives of young people in this situation. In the past 18 months, CanTeen researched the needs of this group of young people and found that they have considerable unmet needs, especially regarding honest and accurate information. The resource is available free of charge online at: or by calling 1800 669 942 or SMS 0420 363 189. There is a limit of five copies per organisation. Posters and postcards can also be ordered online.

2008 Australian and New Zealand Adolescent Health Conference

'My space, your space, our space: Exploring the future of adolescent health together' is the theme for this forthcoming cross-sectoral conference on how the health and wellbeing of young people can be improved. The conference will be held in Melbourne on 6-7 November 2008. Early bird registration closes on 1 September 2008. Diverse perspectives, e.g. from medical imaging to social networking and online learning, will be shared by a variety of professions, disciplines and sectors. The conference host is the Centre for Adolescent Health, University of Melbourne. For further information or to register your interest in attending this conference, see:


Launch of the National Homelessness Information Clearinghouse

Housing Minister Tanya Plibersek has launched the National Homelessness Information Clearinghouse to help the homelessness sector to work together and share ideas. See:

Legal issues

New anti-grafitti laws in Victoria

The Graffiti Prevention Act (Vic) became law in April 2008. The Act includes several new laws with implications for young people in public spaces, such as giving police the right to stop and search young people over 14 on or near public transport, penalties for young people who are found carrying spray paint cans, and (from 30 June onwards) restrictions on the sale of spray paints cans to minors. The Victorian legal aid service, Youthlaw, has produced a fact sheet on the new laws as well as an example of how the implementation of the laws might affect young people. Youthlaw is also encouraging youth workers and young people to provide feedback on their experiences of the new laws in relation to police behaviour, over-policing of young people in public places, and the impacts of fines. That information will be used to inform and lobby the Victorian Government and Victoria Police about the operation of the new laws. Details at: (Source: Youth Affairs Council of Victoria website,, and the Youth Law website,, viewed 19 August 2008.)


Generation 'whine' and other self-harm myths

The August 2008 edition of 'YAPRap', the newsletter of the Youth Action and Policy Association of NSW, contains an excellent piece on young people and self-harm, 'Generation "whine" and other self-harm myths', written by Melbourne-based writer and editor Jenny Lloyd. In it, Lloyd calls for the debunking of myths that surround the act of self-harm (for example, that self-harm is a 'fashion statement' among young people, or a 'psychotic act', or leads to homicidal behaviour) in order that 'young people who self-harm can seek support without fear of being labelled negatively'. She says that young people use self-harm as a coping mechanism, and emphasises the need 'to start teaching young people how to express strong emotions in healthy ways before they reach crisis point'. It is important that articles such as this one be read and understood not only by practitioners within the youth field but also by medical professionals (especially psychiatrists) and parents. (Source: 'YAPRap', v.18, n.8, August 2008, pp.7-8.)

Self harm factsheet now available

ORYGEN Youth Health, the lead agency behind headspace, the youth mental health foundation, has issued a fact sheet on self harm. It asserts that "self-harming is a behaviour and not a mental illness. Self-harm often begins in teenage years and can be a way of communicating or coping with distress." The fact sheet is available as a PDF download at:

'Too important to ignore: Siblings of children with special needs'

The latest edition of the 'Australian e-Journal for the Advancement of Mental Health' contains a guest editorial by Kate Strohm, executive director of Siblings Australia Inc., on the mental health issues faced by the siblings of children who have special needs. The editorial identifies the risk and protective factors that affect a young person's ability to cope with their experiences as the sibling of a child with special needs, and looks at the intervention approaches used by Siblings Australia to help these siblings. Strohm's editorial emphasises the need for a policy framework for affected siblings to ensure that those in need receive adequate support. (Source: 'Australian e-Journal for the Advancement of Mental Health', v.7, n.2, 2008, pp.1-6.)

A resource for parents of youth with mental health difficulties

In the UK, the Trust for the Study of Adolescence (TSA) recently released the research report, 'The needs and experiences of parents of young people who have mental health difficulties'. The aim of the research was to find out about the experiences of parents whose young people have common mental health difficulties and to use those findings to develop training for practitioners. The TSA is a UK charity that focuses exclusively on work with teenagers and young adults. It aims to help close knowledge and skills gaps. The report for parents is available in PDF format at: or



The Youth Bureau, located within the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), is now known as the Office for Youth. Contact details: GPO Box 9880, Canberra, ACT 2601; ph: (02) 6240 5645; fax: (02) 6240 5710; email: Jacqueline.Gellatly[at]


The new president for the USA's Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA) is youth researcher Reed Larson. He begins his term as president with a question in the latest SRA newsletter (Spring 2008), asking: What would a really healthy field of adolescent development look like? The SRA is a membership-based organisation. See:


The ACYS website has a list of handy acronyms for the youth field at: Contributions and corrections to the list are welcomed. Contact: [email protected]


'Mentoring young Horn of African people'

This article, written by Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) research officer Megan Griffiths, outlines an SPRC research project investigating 'how mentoring services can be tailored to effectively provide support and meet the needs of young Horn of Africans'. The research, commissioned by the federal Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) through the National Youth Affairs Research Scheme (NYARS), involved phone consultations and focus groups with service providers, mentors, mentees, policy makers, representatives from community organisations and 33 young Horn of Africans living in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. Findings indicated a number general principles and practices that facilitate effective mentoring for all young people (such as extensive mentor screening, effective mentor training and the supervision of mentor relationships) and principles and practices that apply more specifically to the effective mentoring of young people from the Horn of Africa (such as family support for the mentoring relationship, age-appropriate mentor matching and linking the mentoring program with local Horn of African communities). For further information about the report, please email Megan Griffiths: megangriffiths[AT] (Source: 'SPRC Newsletter', n.99, July 2008, p.13.)


NSW Commission for Children and Young People competition

Be the Children's Commissioner for a Day! is a competition for youth aged 8 to 18 living in NSW. It closes on 19 September 2008. For further information about the competition and how to enter, go to (Source: Colette McGrath, Community Education Officer, NSW Commission for Children & Young People, Ph: (02) 9286 7238,


Changes in sexual behaviour lead to an increase in STIs

The August 2008 edition of 'YAPRap' contains a reprint of a 'Sydney Morning Herald' article on the problem of increasing rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Australia, particularly among young people. The article says that this 'alarming rise is largely because young people are having sex earlier, and with more partners, than any previous generation', and that although that condom use is widespread among young people, is nevertheless inconsistent. The sexual health professionals interviewed in this article believe that young people have become complacent about safe sex. These professionals are 'now looking at what can be done to communicate an urgent new message of safe sex to today's youth'. (Source: 'YAPRap', v.18, n.8, 2008, pp.10-12.)


Social Inclusion Agenda

The Social Inclusion Agenda is a whole-of-government approach to addressing disadvantage and reducing social exclusion by building capacity in communities and disadvantaged groups. The agenda recognises the critical role the not-for-profit sector plays in delivering services, advising and developing social policy, and advocating on behalf of marginalised groups. A strong relationship between the government and the sector will be crucial to the success of the agenda and related reforms.

Social Inclusion Agenda: Call for comment on a national compact

The Australian Government, as part of its Social Inclusion Agenda, is exploring ways to develop a new and stronger relationship with the not-for-profit sector, based on partnership and respect. One way to do this is through an Australian Compact, an agreement between the Australian Government and the not-for-profit sector that outlines how the two will work together to improve and strengthen their relationship, now and into the future. See: The Department of Families, Housing, Communities and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) is now calling for comment on the development of a national compact between the Australian Government and the not-for-profit sector. Comments are due by close of business on 17 September 2008. (Source: FaHCSIA website,

'Partnerships for Social Inclusion' conference, Melbourne, Australia, 15-16 October 2008

This conference provides an opportunity for government, academics and practitioners from across Australia, New Zealand and the region to discuss current practice, as well as explore future directions regarding the concept of social inclusion and the implications of social exclusion. "Participation in social, economic and civic life should be open to everybody ... Social exclusion is not only a social issue but an economic issue as well. Increasing social inclusion requires a joined-up approach that cuts across policy departments. Effective action means that the public sector should re-think the way it operates, moving from a traditional hierarchical model to one characterised by multi-sectoral partnerships and flexibility in policy delivery". The conference will be the first event as part of the OECD LEED Forum on Partnerships and Local Governance in the region. Outcomes of the conference will inform orientations of the Forum work in the region over the next few years. The conference is a collaboration between the Centre for Public Policy at the University of Melbourne, the Victorian Department of Planning and Community Development, the Australian Government and the OECD's Local Economic and Employment Development (LEED) Programme. See: (Source: The OECD website's "one-stop-shop for OECD reports and statistics on Australia" at )


Trends in child deaths in New South Wales 1996-2005

This new report by the NSW Child Death Review Team (CDRT) examines 10 years of information about child deaths in NSW from 1996 to 2005. The report contains important new information about where progress is being made to reduce child deaths, and where more work is needed to reduce preventable child deaths. The CDRT is an independent panel of experts that investigates the systemic causes of child deaths in NSW to prevent or reduce these deaths. The team is convened by the NSW Commissioner for Children and Young People, Gillian Calvert. For more information, contact Bruce Williams, ph: (02) 9286 7239 or see the NSW Commissioner for Children and Young People's website at:

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

The OECD website has a "one-stop-shop for OECD reports and statistics on Australia" where you can read about the latest OECD data concerning Australia. See: .

New from the Australian Bureau of Statistics: 'Australian Social Trends, 2008'

This Australian Bureau of Statistics document (ABS catalogue n.4102.0) was issued on 23 July 2008. It presents statistical analysis and commentary on a wide range of current social issues. The media release for the report highlights statistics drawn from a chapter in the report on 'Risk taking by young people', informing us that "about one in five (19%) young men and one in six (16%) young women (aged 18-24 years) regularly drank risky amounts of alcohol in 2007. While few young people drank enough to be admitted to hospital (about 1 in 1,000), hospitalisation rates were up by 62% for young men and doubled for young women in the seven years to 2005-06". (Source ABS Media release n.74/2008, dated 23 July 2008, Youth-related sections of 'Australian Social Trends, 2008' include the following:
* 'Risk taking by young people' focuses on behaviours such as risky drinking, illicit drug use and dangerous driving by people aged 15?24 years. More at:

* 'Internet use' informs us that, "among all age groups, people aged 25-34 years were the most likely to have used the Internet for this purpose (71%), compared with 34% of young people aged 15-17 years and 42% of people aged 65 years and over." More at:[email protected]/Lookup/4102.0Chapter10002008 )
* 'Education across Australia' examines educational attainment levels and participation in education: how this has changed in the ten years to 2006, and how this varies by geographic location and by Indigenous status. More at:[email protected]/Lookup/4102.0Chapter6002008
* 'People with a need for assistance' informs us that, within age groups, there were "some notable differences in living arrangements between people with and without a need for assistance", for instance, with regard to children and young people. More at:[email protected]/Lookup/4102.0Chapter5102008
* 'Population distribution' explains that in 2006, remote and very remote areas of Australia had "the highest percentage of children (aged 0-14 years) as a proportion of the population. More at:[email protected]/Lookup/9F6E6107C02CB852CA25748E001242A7?opendocument
* 'Government benefits, taxes and household income' informs us that "young people (aged less than 35 years) living alone or as a couple without children tend to contribute more on average in taxes than they receive in benefits. More at:[email protected]/Lookup/4102.0Chapter8102008 )


Promoting physical activity for all abilities

This is an information pack developed from the 'Go for your life' Promoting Physical Activity for All Abilities forum conducted by Kinect Australia in June 2008. It presents an overview of speakers' presentations at the forum, as well as related resources. It contains information to support the range of stakeholders currently working to create environments that promote physical activity across settings for all people. The resource is online at: or get to the PDF (497 kb, pdf) via


International Young Professionals Network: Virtual summit

This event is happening both virtually ( and at the Chancellors Hotel and Conference Centre, University of Manchester on 19-23 August 2008. For details, contact the organisers at: iypf[at]

Innovations in Civic Participation: Measuring the impact of youth voluntary service programs: report of an international experts meeting

At a meeting of the Washington-based organisation, Innovations in Civic Participation and the World Bank in May 2008, over 50 experts in the field of youth service gathered at the World Bank Headquarters in Washington, DC to discuss the evidence-base for youth service as a strategy for youth development and to develop a research agenda for building the field. Details at:

OzQuest: A project of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award

OzQuest is a project of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award, an award scheme for 14- to 25-year-olds. OzQuest is an overseas expedition service that gives participants over the age of 18 a chance to experience different cultures, to take part in exciting, adventurous activities and to serve the communities that the expeditioners visit. As a small organisation, OzQuest works in the Pacific region, and offers three expeditions a year to Nepal, Borneo and Vietnam. Expeditions are open to all, and those who are already take part in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme can join an expedition with OzQuest as part of completing their residential project. For details, contact Rachel Mullins, Expeditions Coordinator, The Duke of Edinburgh's Award (Vic) Ltd, ph: (03) 8412 9333, email: rachel.m[at], or visit:


Professional youth work: Should Victorian youth workers have a professional association?

On 1 August 2008, this question was asked at an open forum at the RMIT, exactly five years after it was first asked at an earlier forum. Now, Aaron Garth, a youth worker from Victoria, has set up a blog on the topic for workers to have their say. See:
Also see: 'That old chestnut! The Professionalisation of youth work in Victoria', a discussion paper on the professionalisation of youth work in Victoria, issued by the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria (YACVic) in March 2004,, and PDF at:

The WA youth sector's conference: Fairground 2008

The Fairground conference is an opportunity for WA's young people, youth sector workers, government and not-for-profit employees, local council members, media, and anyone who works for and with young people to participate in an event that encourages social inclusion through the continued development of fairness and equity for youth in WA. Earlybird registrations close on 31 August 2008. The conference is being organised by the Youth Affairs Council of WA and will be held in Fremantle WA on 9-10 October 2008. To register for the conference, or to find out more about the program and keynote speakers, contact YACWA via email: yacwa[at], or see the conference website at:

Lighthouse Foundation: Opportunities for youth workers

The Lighthouse Foundation is offering two exciting pathways to work with young people. First, the Lighthouse Internship Program is an opportunity for those studying in the field of youth work to experience the role of a residential youth worker while completing their studies. Second, the Lighthouse Graduate Program allows new graduates in social work, psychology or youth work to join the 12-month graduate program at Lighthouse. For details, see their website at: or call (03) 9093 7500.

Finally ...

The editor of YFX is still busy compiling an overview of key moments in the last 10 years in the youth field, so there is still time to send in your contributions. The archives of this newsletter are at the Pandora Archive, National Library of Australia, and make interesting reading on recurring themes in the youth field.