GROWING calls for a focus on funding to assist youth in Ballarat should not be dismissed by governments on any level.
It's a rare week when Ballarat residents do not debate what's happening for young people in our community. Too often its because of the actions of a small number, rather than the majority — we talk about the impact of graffiti, truancy, unsociable behaviour and the lack of spaces for young people to go.
Often it is related to negative impacts on the city, rather than positive actions which so many young people are involved in.
Highlighting should be seen as a positive — it should alert governments on all levels to the need to invest in our young people — providing greater opportunities, programs and spaces for our young people to grow and develop.
Too often, the money hasn't flowed.
When governments are formulating their budgets they must identify the greatest needs and priorities and fund them accordingly. These priorities can be influenced by the advocates to these causes. Maybe this is why youth funding has suffered — there are not enough people or organisations willing to speak up on behalf of young people.
That's not the case in Ballarat.
Yet, there remains a significant gap in where we are, and where we need to be.
It might be too late in this year's Ballarat City Council budget process for a reworking of its commitment to young people. But we have state and federal governments which also need to come to the party.
The issues are plain to see and governments should be held accountable for taking a more proactive approach to solving them.
School start bonus no silver bullet for govt
The school kids start bonus — a major plank of the federal government's measures to ease the troubled bottom lines of families across the nation — will rollout from today but don't expect it to be the silver bullet for the government.
The bonus could be a major point of debate at the next election if Opposition Leader Tony Abbott continues to cast doubt over whether it would be Coalition policy.