Tasmanian Youth Conference could be the last

As preparations are finalised for the 2017 Tasmanian Youth Conference concerns have been raised about its funding.

Attended by both young people and workers in the sector the conference is a key event focussing on youth issues and services.

Funding for the Youth Network of Tasmania, which holds the event, is not indexed and the network’s chair Joanna Siejka said this means 2017 may be the last year the conference can run. 

“Since 2010 our budget hasn’t increased at all,” she said, adding that meanwhile costs have gone up. 

The Tasmanian government has said it will consider the request for an increase in funding. 

“Indexation has never been applied to Department of Premier and Cabinet funded organisations but the government has committed to considering the request,” a government spokeswoman said. 

“YNOT receives recurrent funding of $260,000 per annum and in addition, the Liberal government has provided funding of $40,000 to assist with their conferences since 2014.”

Ms Siejka said without additional funding, “We’re really concerned that our flagship stuff, which is the consultations with young people … [is] the bit that’s going to have to go because that’s the part that is expensive in our operations,” she said.

Young person and the network’s board member Griffin Blizzard said if the conference isn’t able to continue it sends the message that, “Young people are seen as an expense and not an investment ... and those programs and services that are assisting young people aren’t worth investing in.” 

Despite this, the conference this week will be focusing on the future and looking at where young people want to go and how to get there. 

“Our theme this year is ‘Powering up for the future’, so for us that means all things to do with preparing for the future, whether that’s being innovative, or best practice, or entrepreneurial,” Ms Siejka said. 

“On the program we’ve got some really inspiring stories of young people.”