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Rural and regional issues

NYCH's report Living, Learning and Working (Quixley, 1993) examines the housing, education and employment experiences of young people in rural and remote communities.

The report found that young people's lack of access to housing is a major issue in rural and remote Australia, and poor or non-existent public transport meant that their educational and employment options were also extremely limited. The report emphasised that solutions to the problems faced by young rural and remote people, be developed in consultation with, and owned by, the communities in which they live.

Public housing is in limited supply in rural and remote communities. Where stock exists, it is rarely designed to house single young people. Cheap private rental in rural and remote communities is invariably run down, substandard, abandoned and 'out of town'. Formal crisis and supported accommodation options rarely exist in small communities, and where they do exist, there is a profound lack of exit points. Young people leaving their communities for education or work face further difficulty in finding housing in the cities, when they arrive.

Young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people also face the dilemma of whether to stay within their communities or leave to pursue other opportunities. Housing was an entire community issue in the majority of Aboriginal communities studied, with young people rarely distinguished by the communities as a specific group. In the NYCH study, the participants from Aboriginal communities sought responses to their needs that were flexible and could be developed by the community. Adequate family housing and to a lesser degree youth specific housing, were identified as key elements, in planned strategies for change.