April 11, 2016

Media release: Young Indigenous Australians challenged by mainstream economy

First Nations Foundation have announced a significant first step in their investigation into the life journey of Indigenous Australians with the launch of new report “The Financial Economy and Indigenous Young People in Australia”. The report, produced by the Centre for Social Impact, investigates how Indigenous young people navigate the financial economy, and explores their participation and preparedness for a financially included life journey.

The report shows the complexity around how Indigenous young people are positioned in the mainstream economy when compared to non-Indigenous young people. For example, while we saw that 12% of Indigenous young people were unemployed in 2011 compared to 7% of non-Indigenous young people, we can now see that our Indigenous young people are contributing far more significantly to the economy via unpaid work, such as caring for someone with a disability, or caring for children.

“Our aim with this report was to get a thorough grasp on just how well our young Indigenous people are able to be a part of the financial economy, as we believe that understanding this is crucial in understanding the life journey of Australia’s Indigenous Peoples,” said Amanda Young, CEO, First Nations Foundation. “We know that education, employment, and financial inclusion are all important factors in an individual’s wellbeing. What we didn’t fully understand is how these factors can affect an Indigenous young person’s ability to engage with the economy in a way that ensures improved outcomes. This research is an important first step in understanding that, and further reinforces our role at First Nations Foundation as the bridge between financial inclusion and exclusion. We’re proud of the work that we do to bridge this gap.”

Professor Kristy Muir, Director of Research at CSI agreed. “One of the recurring themes of this research was that we saw that there are many more considerations for Indigenous young people than non-Indigenous young people when looking to secure full time employment or to continue on to further education and training. The importance of maintaining a strong social and cultural identity throughout a young Indigenous person’s journey from school, to post-school studies, through to employment, is therefore essential. We hope that this research helps shed some light on where further resources are needed.”

The full report, which can be found online here, shows that economic disparity starts young and can continue through life, affecting wellbeing outcomes of Indigenous people.

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