9.15 The legal processes for the administration of income support affect many children. For some, income support is a major point of direct contact with federal administration. Challenges to decisions about income support are a common reason for the appearance of young people before federal tribunals.
9.16 Difficulties in negotiating these legal processes can have serious consequences for young people from low socio-economic backgrounds or for those who have inadequate family support. There is a connection between children’s poverty and their adverse involvement with legal processes. The more effective the income support regime is in supporting eligible young people, the less likely they are to become enmeshed in the care and protection and/or juvenile justice systems. Longitudinal research conducted to determine what individual, environmental and social factors increase the risk of juvenile offending suggests that socio-economic deprivation and unemployment are major factors.
Lack of income, homelessness and abuse and exploitation all have detrimental effects on children. To ignore their association with crime is to engage in the process of victim-blaming.
9.17 The discussion in this Report is limited to income support that the Commonwealth provides directly to young people who are unemployed, studying or homeless. In administering these benefits the Commonwealth implements its obligation under CROC to ensure that children have the right to benefit from social security.
9.18 The main forms of income support currently paid to people under 18 are Youth Training Allowance (YTA) and Austudy or Abstudy. These benefits are administered by DSS and DEETYA.
9.19 YTA is available to Australian residents living in Australia aged between 16 and 18 years who are registered as unemployed. YTA is paid at two levels: a lower rate for recipients living in the parental home and a higher rate for those qualifying for the independent, homeless or ‘living away from home’ rates.
9.20 Austudy provides financial assistance to full time students 16 years of age and over. Eligibility requirements include meeting academic standards and income and assets tests. Income and assets tests also apply to the student’s parents unless the student meets the independent criteria. For students under 18 years of age, Austudy is paid to the carers unless payment is at the independent or homeless rate. Abstudy is a similar benefit for Indigenous students.
9.21 Submissions from community groups and evidence from young people participating in focus groups indicate that children find the administrative processes associated with income support applications bewildering and intimidating. Many young people told the Inquiry that government departments are unhelpful, the level of co-ordination between them is poor, there is insufficient information available about entitlements and application forms are difficult to fill out without assistance. In addition, some young people indicated that waiting periods for benefits are unreasonably long. They also claimed that clerical errors often mean that benefits are incorrectly reduced or stopped. These frustrations with income support processes were reiterated by respondents to our survey.
The government needs to get more kids into schools and off the streets.
Kids on the streets don’t receive any government benefits.
9.22 The federal Government recently established a new statutory authority, Centrelink, to take over a number of federal government services including the administration of all income support payments. It has a dedicated youth segment. Hopefully this administrative reform will overcome some of the problems experienced by young people when applying for benefits. Lack of communication and co-ordination between DSS and DEETYA was identified as a major problem by young people during consultations.
9.23 Having to deal with only one administrative body, however, will not overcome all the difficulties young people currently experience when applying for income support. Centrelink should adopt the proposed service delivery standards when dealing with child clients.
9.24 Centrelink, DEETYA and DSS are reviewing the local services currently provided to young people to determine which of them should be delivered by Centrelink, whether any additional or modified services are required and the manner in which those services should be delivered. This review will examine whether service delivery to young people should differ from that to others. The review is to be conducted in consultation with the community sector and young people with a final report due by December 1997.
Common Youth Allowance
9.25 On 20 August 1996 the federal Government announced a proposal to replace YTA and Austudy with a single youth allowance. On 17 June 1997 the Minister for Social Security and the Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs revealed further details of the proposed changes to take effect from 1 July 1998. The Common Youth Allowance (CYA) will be the policy responsibility of DSS and will be administered by Centrelink.
9.26 The CYA is designed to streamline youth benefits and ‘create real incentives to complete schooling or partake in training or other educational opportunities prior to looking for work’. It will replace YTA, Austudy for students under 25, the Sickness Allowance for 16 to 20 year olds and the more-than-minimum rate of Family Payment for secondary students aged 16 to 18 not receiving Austudy.
9.27 CYA will not incorporate Abstudy although the Government will review the scheme to consider the most appropriate way to pay the means tested living allowance component of it. The range of supplementary benefits will also be reviewed ‘to ensure that Indigenous educational disadvantages are properly addressed’.
9.28 CYA will be paid at two levels. Those eligible for the at-home rate will receive a maximum of $145 a fortnight. Young people who qualify for the away from home rate will receive a maximum of $265 a fortnight regardless of whether they are classified as dependent or independent. A CYA recipient will qualify as independent if he or she is married, in a de facto relationship of at least two years’ duration, has a dependent child or is homeless. Independent young people will be exempt from the parental means test.
9.29 Unemployed under 18 year olds will be required to have had more extensive work experience to qualify for income support at the independent rate. For example, they will now have to have supported themselves since leaving school by 18 months’ full time employment over a two year period, instead of 13 weeks’ employment within a period of 18 weeks. That means a wait of 18 to 24 months instead of the present 3 to 4 months.
9.30 Only those at school or in full time training will receive the CYA. Unemployed young people aged between 16 and 18 will no longer be eligible for income support unless they are specifically exempted from this training requirement. Temporary exemptions will be available for young people who are ill, substance abusers or homeless and those who have lost their job or who cannot secure an appropriate education place. Young people who leave school at the end of year 10 will generally have to rely on their families to support them until they find full time work.
9.31 Young income support applicants and recipients experience major administrative problems with the current structure of benefits and allowances. For example, eligibility criteria are frequently so complex and confusing that it is difficult for young people to work out the difference between benefits and programs, let alone access them. Having one youth benefit should overcome this problem.
9.32 In addition, the Government has given a commitment that recipients will no longer have their payments cancelled and have to reapply for a different benefit due to minor changes in circumstances. This will implement the Inquiry’s draft recommendation 4.2 and should overcome the difficulties experienced by many young people who move between education and employment.
9.33 The temporary exemptions from the training requirement applicable to under 18 recipients of CYA must not be administered so stringently that young people at risk are deprived of support by unrealistic administrative requirements. For example, Centrelink officers should ensure that homeless young people are put in contact with an appropriate youth centre so that they have an address for receiving official correspondence. Also, officers should investigate the reason for a young person missing an appointment rather than automatically recording it as a breach and suspending the benefit. Administrators should take account of the greater scarcity of employment and training facilities in rural and remote areas.
Recommendation 14 The temporary exemptions from the training requirement applicable to under 18 recipients of CYA should not be administered so stringently that young people at risk are deprived of income support by unrealistic administrative requirements
Implementation. Centrelink should ensure that all relevant staff are given training in administering these exemptions.
Youth Service Units
9.34 In 1994 DSS established 10 Youth Service Units nationally to provide specialised support and assistance for young clients. An evaluation of the program in August 1996 found that the initiative had been successful in enhancing services to this group. Two of the most effective aspects of the program were found to be intensive personal support and the establishment of youth support networks with workers in the government and community sectors. It is proposed to retain the Youth Units as part of Centrelink although the age range of the clients may change with the introduction of the CYA.
9.35 In evidence to the Inquiry, young people stressed the importance of a designated officer or unit to explain income support entitlements and administrative requirements to young people. Indigenous young people indicated that they would prefer to deal with an Indigenous staff member.
9.36 Youth Service Units are essential to ensuring that the particular needs of young income support applicants and recipients are met. In addition, contested administrative decisions in this area should be reduced if consumers are fully informed of their entitlements at the earliest possible stage in the application process.
Recommendation 15 Youth Service Units should be established in each region.
Implementation. Centrelink should ensure these units are established as a matter of priority.
Indigenous children and children from non-English speaking backgrounds
9.37 A 1994 ABS survey of Indigenous peoples found that over 85% of those aged between 15 and 19 earn less than $12 000 a year. Income support payments were the main source of income for over 40% of the same age group. Indigenous young people are an important client group for Centrelink.
9.38 Indigenous communities can have substantially different family structures and child rearing practices from those in the non-Indigenous community. The emphasis on the extended family means that parents do not necessarily have such a defined or dominant role in their children’s lives.
In Aboriginal societies, the role of the extended family, based on kinship relationships and obligations, is of fundamental importance in bringing up children. A child growing up in an Aboriginal community is surrounded by relatives who have responsibilities towards that child and play a meaningful role in child rearing.
It may be that for periods of time often extending over a number of years primary responsibility for a child’s upbringing may rest with an aunt or grandmother.
9.39 Centrelink should develop administrative processes that accommodate Indigenous child care practices on a case by case basis so that the disadvantage, in particular poverty, already suffered by Indigenous young people is not compounded. For example, it may not be fair to assess the income of an Indigenous girl’s parents for the purposes of CYA if she lives with her grandparents permanently despite not being officially adopted by them.
Many grandmothers also referred to the fact that they are caring for grandchildren full-time but are not receiving Social Security income support for the child. One woman said she was looking after many children and getting no extra money at all. There is clearly a dilemma between taking on the care of children who are neglected and declaring publicly that this is a permanent arrangement…
9.40 Administrative processes associated with income support should also be flexible enough to take account of the family circumstances of young applicants from non-English speaking backgrounds.
Laws and policies based on one view or one set of assumptions about family relationships which do not take into account the diversity of family arrangements in Australian society may impact harshly on communities or individuals whose family relationships are differently defined…Families may…be more broadly defined and composed of different elements. The significance placed on the various relationships may differ as may the role each member of the family takes.
Recommendation 16 Models of income support service delivery should be designed specifically for young Indigenous people and young people from non-English speaking backgrounds to take account of cultural differences in family structures and relationships.
Implementation. Centrelink should develop these models in consultation with appropriate community groups and OFC.
Children in rural and remote communities
9.41 The Assistance for Isolated Children Scheme (the Scheme) assists the families of primary, secondary and under 16 tertiary students who do not have reasonable daily access to a government school offering tuition at their level because of geographic isolation, disability, health condition, special education need or frequent moves (necessitated by the family’s occupation).
9.42 The benefits under this scheme are not income or assets tested. They provide basic board allowance or second home allowance and correspondence allowance. The government has stated that the Scheme will not be affected by the CYA reforms.
9.43 Homeless children living in rural and remote areas face particular difficulties due to scarce services. In its report on youth homelessness, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Community Affairs recommended that all major Commonwealth departments providing specific services to young people and families should develop an integrated model of service delivery for rural and remote communities. The Inquiry supports a more co-ordinated approach and hopes that the establishment of Centrelink will facilitate this change. The proposition that particular attention should be given to the provision of income support to children living in rural and remote areas is supported by several submissions.
Recommendation 17 Models of income support service delivery should be designed specifically for young people living in rural and remote communities.
Implementation. The Minister for Social Security should co-ordinate a federal strategy for service delivery to young people living in rural and remote communities.
9.44 Homeless children are among the most vulnerable of all Australian young people.
‘Homelessness’ describes a lifestyle which includes insecurity and transiency of shelter. It is not confined to a total lack of shelter. For many children and young people it signifies a state of detachment from family and vulnerability to dangers, including exploitation and abuse broadly defined, from which the family normally protects the child.
Homeless children are at particular risk of adverse contact with the juvenile justice system and are more likely to have been involved in care and protection processes. They are one of the groups of children most in need of government support. However, it is often difficult for them to gain access to benefits because their lifestyle is transient and therefore an anathema to official processes.
In view of the circumstances surrounding young homeless people, for instance their lack of stability, mobility and other additional problems which may have caused them to leave home in the first instance…it is difficult for young people to receive a payment. There need to be more youth outreach services for young people who are homeless [because they] generally do not have the wherewithal to deal with all the paper work.
9.45 A number of young people who participated in focus groups expressed frustration at the administrative requirements associated with applying for income support at the homeless rate. One girl had to provide three statutory declarations including one from her parents and one from a counsellor. Another 13 year old girl was forced to return to a violent home after 6 months of attempting to get income support because the refuge she was staying in could no longer afford to support her. A Tasmanian boy told the Inquiry that it had taken 6 months from his application for homeless rate benefits until his first payment. In the interim he sold drugs to survive. In Queensland the story was the same: each time a young homeless girl’s application for support was refused she had to stay with friends and steal food to survive.
9.46 Homeless young people aged 16 to 18 will be eligible for the independent rate of the CYA and will be exempt from the training requirement. Homeless children aged 15 and under will continue to rely on a discretionary Special Benefit. To be eligible young people must qualify as ‘SPB homeless persons’.
9.47 The Inquiry considers that evidential requirements, particularly those concerning identification, should be interpreted flexibly for young homeless applicants and should not of themselves bar them from receiving income support. In addition to the information on sex and age already collected, demographic data and data concerning young homeless clients’ race and sexual orientation should be collected anonymously and by consent to support a better informed and targeted response to youth homelessness. Indigenous families are 20 times more likely to be homeless than non-Indigenous families.
9.48 While the quantum of income support paid to homeless young people is not a legal process issue, the Inquiry considers it important to stress the link between poverty and crime. To ensure that already vulnerable children are not effectively forced into a criminal lifestyle, the adequacy of the homeless rate of benefits paid to young people should be assessed regularly to ensure appropriate minimum benefit and rent assistance rates are maintained.
9.49 Providing income support to homeless young people is one means of ensuring they do not need to resort to criminal activity to survive. However, it needs to be supplemented by other support programs to break the cycle of homelessness. The federal Government has recently undertaken a number of initiatives in this area.
9.50 The Youth Homelessness Pilot Program administered by Department of Health and Family Services began in May 1996. The Program is testing early intervention strategies to assist young people at risk of homelessness to re-engage in family, work, education, training and life in the community. The emphasis is on family mediation and counselling to assist the reconciliation process.
9.51 In addition, the Government has re-established the JPET Program to assist students and unemployed people aged under 21 years (with priority for 15 to 19 year olds) who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Assistance can also be provided to state wards, refugees and young people who have been in detention. JPET services are provided by community organisations under contract to DEETYA.
9.52 The federal Government has recently announced a homeless youth project as part of its NCAVAC. The project will provide an overview of current service delivery to homeless and disadvantaged young people and develop and monitor strategies to reduce victimisation and offending rates.
Homelessness is a particular form of disadvantage and the very public profile of ‘street kids’ has contributed to the commonly held assumption that homeless young people are engaged in chronic offending to support themselves and their assumed drug use, and that many are involved in prostitution.
9.53 Positive initiatives such as JPET and the Youth Homelessness Pilot Program should be publicised extensively in the youth sector and community. The more young people who have access to them the better the chances of reducing the youth homeless population and the youth crime rate.
Recommendation 18 Evidential requirements, particularly those concerning identification, should be interpreted flexibly for young homeless applicants and should not of themselves bar them from receiving income support.
Implementation. DSS should ensure that eligibility requirements for young homeless applicants comply with this recommendation.
Recommendation 19 Demographic data and data concerning young homeless clients’ race and sexual orientation should be collected by consent to support a better informed and targeted response to youth homelessness. The data should be recorded in a way that preserves young people’s anonymity.
Implementation. All federal, State and Territory departments that provide services to young homeless people should collect this data. The data should be collated by Centrelink.
Recommendation 20 The adequacy of the homeless rate of benefits paid to young people should be assessed regularly to ensure appropriate minimum benefit and rent assistance rates are maintained.
Implementation. The Minister for Social Security should commission surveys on a regular basis to ensure that appropriate minimum rates are fixed.
Recommendation 21 Support programs for homeless young people should be publicised extensively in the youth sector and community.
Implementation. All federal government agencies administering these programs should review the effectiveness of their publicity campaigns.
Commonwealth/State Youth Protocol
9.54 The Commonwealth/State Youth Protocol for the case management of homeless children (the Protocol) has been in operation in all States and Territories since January 1995. The Protocol sets out a procedure for the assessment of applicants for income support at the homeless rate by the relevant State or Territory family services department. Centrelink has taken on DSS’s responsibilities under the Protocol.
9.55 The Protocol was designed to clarify responsibilities for assisting and supporting homeless young people and to improve co-ordination between levels of government.
Australia’s homeless young people would…appear to be the ones to suffer most from the effects of federalism’s shortcomings.
The Protocol requires certain children seeking income support at the homeless rate to be referred to the relevant State or Territory family services department for an assessment of need. The young people affected are those under 15, 15 to 17 year olds who are considered to be at risk of harm and all under 18 year olds who are State wards.
9.56 The State or Territory department makes an assessment of the young person’s care and protection needs, contacts parents and offers assistance as appropriate. Where it has not been possible for the State department to reach some resolution of the young person’s circumstances, a case discussion is held with a Centrelink social worker to decide on the next step. This discussion may lead to Centrelink providing long term income support for the young person if the circumstances are exceptional.
9.57 Four States have recently announced a trial project to promote contact between homeless 15 year olds and their families with the view to reintegrating the child into the family. Under the scheme, benefit recipients will be obliged to meet fortnightly with a family member or friend agreed to by the carers and the young person. This project is intended to complement the Protocol.
9.58 During consultations the Inquiry heard evidence that the Protocol may not appropriately support gay and lesbian young people who are reluctant to approach family services departments to justify their need for income support. Often these young people are homeless because their families refuse to accept their sexual orientation. These young people resent being made to feel as if they have to justify their sexual identify to welfare workers. All family services department officers who conduct these assessments should be briefed on how to interview young gay and lesbian applicants appropriately. This is particularly urgent given the over-representation of young gay men and lesbians among the homeless.
9.59 The Protocol currently provides for assessment within 28 days. This is a long time when a young person is homeless. Young homeless people are particularly vulnerable and their applications for income support should be dealt with as expeditiously as possible. In its 1996 report evaluating the Protocol the Standing Committee of Community Services and Income Security Administrators found that almost a quarter of all assessments completed during a 12 month period took longer than 28 days. The Committee recommended that each jurisdiction identify reasons why time frames had not been met and take appropriate action.
9.60 While the Protocol is not legally binding, it is a guide to best practice and should be given significant weight. State and Territory governments should ensure that family services departments have the resources to assess homeless young people within seven days of their application for support.
Recommendation 22 All family services department officers who conduct assessments under the Commonwealth/State Protocol for the case management of homeless children should be briefed on how to interview young gay and lesbian applicants appropriately.
Implementation. All parties to the Protocol should ensure staff are appropriately briefed.
Recommendation 23 The Commonwealth/State Protocol for the case management of homeless children should be amended to provide that homeless children must be assessed by the relevant State or Territory family services department within seven days of making an application for income support.
Implementation. All parties to the Protocol should expedite this change.
 See discussion at paras 9.89-94.
 The link between poverty and crime has been well documented: see eg A Daniel & J Cornwall A Lost Generation? The Australian Youth Foundation Sydney 1993, 11, 16. See also para 4.40.
 See eg DP Farrington ‘Implications of criminal career research for the prevention of offending’ (1990) 13 Journal of Adolescence 93, 109.
 I O’Connor ‘Models of juvenile justice’ Paper Juvenile Crime and Juvenile Justice: Towards 2000 and Beyond AIC Conference Adelaide 26–27 June 1997, 3.
 There are a number of other family payments that benefit children but they fall outside the scope of this Inquiry. See paras 2.50-53 and table 2.14 for statistics on income support.
 art 26(1).
 Student and Youth Assistance Act 1973 (Cth) s 65 (1)(g). In certain circumstances 15 year olds are eligible to receive YTA: s 65(3).
 A young person is regarded as independent if, eg, she or he is a member of a couple for the purposes of s 4(2), (3), (6) of the Social Security Act 1991 (Cth), if she or he is an orphan or if she or he is an unaccompanied refugee: Student and Youth Assistance Act 1973 (Cth) s 135, Sch 1 Pt 1 cl 2.
 Student and Youth Assistance Act 1973 (Cth) Pt 2.
 eg Council of Single Mothers and Their Children IP Submission 124.
 Adelaide Focus Group 29 April 1996; Newcastle Focus Group 13 May 1996; Darwin Focus Group 15 July 1996; Alice Springs Focus Group 19 July 1996; Rockhampton Focus Group 2 August 1996.
 Alice Springs Focus Group 19 July 1996; Rockhampton Focus Group 2 August 1996.
 Newcastle Focus Group 13 May 1996; Alice Springs Focus Group 19 July 1996.
 See also A Daniel & J Cornwall A Lost Generation? Australian Youth Foundation Sydney 1993, 11–13.
 Survey Response 101.
 Survey Response 247.
 Commonwealth Services Delivery Agency Act 1997 (Cth). The Prime Minister officially re-named the Cth Services Delivery Agency as Centrelink on 24 September 1997: J Newman, Minister for Social Security Media Release 24 September 1997.
 eg Adelaide Focus Group 29 April 1996; Wagga Wagga Focus Group 9 May 1996; Darwin Focus Group 15 July 1996; A Borg IP Submission 33. See also paras 5.6-16.
 See rec 13.
 A Vanstone, Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs Media Release 20 August 1996.
 J Newman, Minister for Social Security & A Vanstone, Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs Media Release 17 June 1997.
 Entitlements will vary within these groups according to marital status and/or number of dependents.
 It is possible this particular test of independence will result in anomalies within and between couples on income support: Welfare Rights Centre Youth Allowance: Discussion Paper 1 Welfare Rights Centre Sydney 1997.
 A parental means test will be applied to the CYA so that, eg, young people living at home will receive no income support once the family income exceeds $41 000. The introduction of the parental means test for unemployed recipients has been one of the more controversial aspects of the CYA proposal: see eg ACOSS Media Release June 17 1997. However, it is probably not so significant for under 18s as YTA is already subject to a parental means test and unemployed young people will not be eligible for CYA anyway: see para 9.30.
 J Newman, Minister for Social Security & A Vanstone, Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs Media Release 17 June 1997. See also J Brough ‘Families hit as youth dole axed’ The Sydney Morning Herald 18 June 1997, 1.
 Concern about the policy behind the CYA reform was expressed in A McNicol DRP Submission 39.
 Community Services Australia IP Submission 201.
 J Newman, Minister for Social Security & A Vanstone, Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs Media Release 17 June 1997.
 A number of young people told us of the difficulties they have experienced when transferring between benefits. eg if a young person leaves school, looks for work, is unsuccessful and then returns to school, his or her benefit is not currently automatically transferred from Austudy to YTA and back again. Even if the child is only receiving one benefit, s/he can be required to pay back the money (with interest) if it has not come from the right source: see Alice Springs Focus Group 19 July 1996; Rockhampton Focus Group 2 August 1996.
 K Wright, Youth Accommodation and Support Service Public Hearing Submission Alice Springs 18 July 1996.
 DSS Evaluation of Youth Service Units DSS Canberra 1996, i.
 The services provided by Youth Service Units are complemented by those provided by the 70 Youth Access Centres throughout Australia. The Centres assist young people to make the transition from education and training to appropriate careers. Priority is given to disadvantaged young people including young offenders, state wards and homeless young people.
 eg Tranby College Focus Group 10 June 1997.
 Tranby College Focus Group 10 June 1997.
 The utility of Youth Service Units was acknowledged by Kreative Kids DRP Submission 35; Townsville Community Legal Service DRP Submission 46; Law Society of NSW DRP Submission 90.
 ABS National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey: Australia’s Indigenous Youth AGPS Canberra 1996, 20.
 id 21.
 ALRC Report 31 The Recognition of Aboriginal Customary Laws Vol 1 AGPS Canberra 1986, 233. See also NSWLRC Research Report 7 The Aboriginal Child Placement Principle NSWLRC Sydney 1997, 34–36; National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children From Their Families Bringing Them Home HREOC Sydney 1997, 545–546.
 ALRC Report 31 The Recognition of Aboriginal Customary Laws Vol 1 AGPS Canberra 1986, 171.
 See House of Representatives Standing Committee on Community Affairs Report on Aspects of Youth Homelessness AGPS Canberra 1995 recs 94–96. This proposal was supported by Kreative Kids DRP Submission 35; Townsville Community Legal Service DRP Submission 46; Law Society of NSW DRP Submission 90. The NSW Government DRP Submission 86 was concerned that implementation may have significant cost implications.
 The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Community Affairs has recommended that DSS thoroughly review the entitlements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander family members, including extended family members, who are caring for a young person to ensure they are receiving their full income support entitlements: Report on Aspects of Youth Homelessness AGPS Canberra 1995 rec 95. The definition of dependent child in Social Security Act 1991 (Cth) s 250(1)c) has also been identified as problematic for Indigenous people claiming the sole parent pension.
 Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantatjara, Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council Looking After Children Grandmother’s Way Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantatjara, Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council Alice Springs 1991, 18.
 ALRC Report 57 Multiculturalism and the Law ALRC Sydney 1992, 67.
 J Newman, Minister for Social Security & A Vanstone, Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs Media Release 17 June 1997.
 A Report on Aspects of Youth Homelessness AGPS Canberra 1995 rec 92.
 eg Kreative Kids DRP Submission 35; Townsville Community Legal Service DRP Submission 46.
‘[I]ncome support should include the added costs of travel and searching for work and…young people should not be forced to move away from families and friends to secure an income’: Federation of Community Legal Centres (Vic) DRP Submission 72.
 HREOC Our Homeless Children: Report of the Inquiry into Homeless Children AGPS Canberra 1989, 7. It is difficult to obtain accurate statistics on the number of Australian young people who are homeless at any particular time. Anecdotal evidence suggests that Indigenous young people, young people from non-English speaking backgrounds and gay and lesbian young people are over-represented in the homeless population: P Boss et al (eds) Profile of Young Australians Churchill Livingstone Melbourne 1995, 175; Australian Centre for Lesbian and Gay Research As Long As I’ve Got My Doona: A Report on Lesbian and Gay Youth Homelessness Twenty-Ten Association Sydney 1995, 14–17. See also paras 2.54-57.
 See also paras 4.40, 4.46; J Smith & I O’Connor ‘Child abuse, youth homelessness and juvenile crime’ in A Borowski & I O’Connor (eds) Juvenile Crime, Justice and Corrections Longman Sydney 1997.
 This can also make it difficult for them to access a wide range of basic services. eg P Eastaugh DRP Submission 29 pointed out that this problem arises in the health area because people under 18 are not eligible for their own Medicare card.
 Federation of Community Legal Centres (Vic) IP Submission 129.
 Tranby College Focus Group 10 June 1997.
 Wagga Wagga Focus Group 9 May 1996.
 Hobart Focus Group 30 May 1996.
 Rockhampton Focus Group 2 August 1996. See also R White et al Any Which Way You Can: Youth Livelihoods, Community Resources and Crime Australian Youth Foundation Sydney 1997 ch 7.
 Social Security Act 1991 (Cth) Pt 2.15. Special Benefit is not subject to an assets test if the applicant is under 18: s 733(2)(a). As at May 1996, 2.9% of all Special Benefit recipients were aged under 16: DSS Annual Report 1995–96 AGPS Canberra 1996, 266.
 Social Security Act 1991 (Cth) s 739 provides that a person who is not a member of a couple, who has no dependent children, who cannot live at the parental home, who has no direct or indirect form of support and who is not receiving any other social security benefit qualifies as a ‘SPB homeless person’. The fortnightly rate of a Special Benefit is at the discretion of the Secretary of DSS but currently it may not exceed the YTA rate: s 746(2).
 This proposal was supported by Kreative Kids DRP Submission 35; Education Centre Against Violence DRP Submission 43; Townsville Community Legal Service DRP Submission 46; Law Society of NSWDRP Submission 90. See also HREOC Our Homeless Children: Report of the National Inquiry into Homeless Children AGPS Canberra 1989 rec 14.6.
 This proposal (draft rec 4.8) was supported by Education Centre Against Violence DRP Submission 43 andLaw Society of NSWDRP Submission 90. Kreative Kids DRP Submission 35, Federation of Community Legal Centres (Vic) DRP Submission 72 andNSW Government DRP Submission 86 expressed concerns about the privacy implications of the recommendation. The Inquiry considers that as long as the information is collected anonymously and with consent young people’s privacy should not be compromised. If de-identifying this information raises concerns about the validity of the data because of an inability to cross-match, consideration should be given to a more contained study.
 National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children From Their Families Bringing Them Home HREOC Sydney 1997, 550. See also para 9.58 regarding sexual orientation.
 This proposal was supported by Kreative Kids DRP Submission 35; Education Centre Against Violence DRP Submission 43; Townsville Community Legal Service DRP Submission 46; Federation of Community Legal Centres (Vic) DRP Submission 72; Law Society of NSW DRP Submission 90.
 See eg Tranby College Focus Group 10 June 1997.
 Dept of Health and Family Services DRP Submission 75. The Prime Ministerial Youth Homeless Taskforce is due to present an interim report on the Program by October 1997.
 NCAVAC Unit Homeless Youth — Project Summary No 10 Attorney-General’s Dept Canberra 1997.
 There is a separate agreement between the Cth and each of the States and Territories implementing the principles of the Protocol. DSS is working towards standardising the protocols nationally.
 A de Jonge ‘Some changing aspects of child rights in Australia — In and out of court’ (1989) 3 Journal of Social Welfare Law 163, 172.
 WA, SA, Qld and Tas have agreed to trial the project: J Ferrari ‘At 15, the homeless allowance can be a trial’ The Australian 31 July 1997, 3.
 R Bennett, 20/10 Lesbian and Gay Youth Service Public Hearing Submission Sydney 26 April 1996.
 See fn 70 above.
 During the assessment period, the State family services dept is required to provide support for the young person although the level of this support is not specified.
 Income Security Sub-Committee of the Standing Committee of Community Services and Income Security Administrators Evaluation of the Homeless Youth Protocol Health and Community Services Ministerial Council Secretariat Canberra 1996, 22.
 id rec 6.
 This proposal was supported by Australian Family Association (NSW) DRP Submission 11; Townsville Community Legal Service DRP Submission 46; Education Centre Against Violence DRP Submission 43; Law Society of NSW DRP Submission 90. Kreative Kids DRP Submission 35 supported the proposal provided State depts receive sufficient resources and funding to undertake assessments.