- $180,000 COVID-19 recovery funding to increase access to youth services
- Repurposed ICT devices to bridge 'digital divide' for vulnerable youth
- Online services directory to connect young people with important services
The Youth Minister today launched two important new services for Western Australia's vulnerable young people - the Youth Digital Inclusion Project and a Live Dashboard update to the Western Australian Youth Services Directory.
These two new initiatives are the direct outcomes of the State's Youth Taskforce, which was established following the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Taskforce was established to combine the efforts of community sector service partners and the State Government to ensure services for vulnerable young people aged 10 to 24 years are delivered where they are most needed, during the COVID-19 recovery period.
A key issue identified by the Taskforce was the impact of COVID-19 on young people's ability to access information and engage with services. While many services adapted to online or telephone modes of delivery, a lack of access to information and communications technology devices has compounded the 'digital divide', as without a device a young person cannot engage with the services, support and information that they need.
Funding of $160,000 has been provided for the Youth Digital Inclusion Project which will enable vulnerable youth to access refurbished mobile phones, laptop and tablet computers, and to connect with online support services during the COVID-19 recovery period.
Up to 300 refurbished devices, supported by six months of data, will be provided to vulnerable young people who would not normally have access to these devices.
Devices, including those supplied by the State Government, will be provided to service providers who work with young people aged 16-24. These services will then provide the devices to young people through an application and assessment process.
Incorporated, not-for-profit community organisations and local government authorities who provide services to young people can apply on behalf of clients who would benefit from a device. Unincorporated community organisations applying through the auspice of an incorporated body are also eligible to apply.
The State Government is looking to identify other similar collaborative initiatives that improve digital inclusion for Western Australians, as part of the State's Digital Inclusion Blueprint consultation process currently underway.
The Taskforce also identified a need for young people to have greater access to up-to-date information on important services particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery period.
Funding of $20,000 has enabled the development of a live dashboard update on WA Youth Services Directory to make it easier for young people to find the help they need when they need it. This resource will also benefit service providers who can use the information to refer young people to services.
The directory provides up-to-date information on service offerings, and detailing if COVID-19 has had an impact on their operating capacity, opening hours and staffing numbers.
Comments attributed to Youth Minister Dave Kelly:
"The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting social distancing requirements have had a significant impact on young people who do not have personal ICT devices.
"Many youth specific services have shifted online, and as a result we need to get devices into the hands of young people who need them.
"The Youth Digital Inclusion Project will help vulnerable young people to stay engaged with services that are supporting them and ensure that they have the means to do important things such as book health appointments and engage with counselling, MyGov services, Centrelink and State Government support online.
"Having a dynamic and user-friendly Youth Services Directory online, will now provide WA youth, and those that work with them, with access to the important services they need and up-to-date information with a keystroke."
Minister's office - 6552 6100