July Advocacy Wrap-up

July has been another busy month for CREATE’s Advocacy team, with a number of submissions to government and the commencement of this year’s annual consultations across Australia.  

Inquiry into the worsening rental crisis in Australia 

CREATE recently provided a submission to the Senate Community Affairs References Committee Inquiry into the worsening rental crisis in Australia. We strongly advocated for young people exiting care to be prioritised in any action plan developed to address the worsening rental crisis in Australia.  

Safe, secure, and affordable housing is crucial for a successful transition out of care and into independent living. However, recent research has showed that one quarter of young people with a care experience surveyed had lost a tenancy or had been forced to leave their accommodation (McDowall, 2020). Young people leaving care face an increased risk of homelessness and require targeted actions to meet their needs.  

We look forward to the release of the Committee’s interim and final reports and hope to see young people transitioning from care prioritised for additional supports to enter the rental market, maintain stable tenancies and enjoy a good quality of life. 

McDowall, J. J. (2020). Transitioning to Adulthood from Out-of-Home Care: Independence or Interdependence. CREATE Foundation. https://create.org.au/wpcontent/uploads/2021/05/CREATEPostCareReport2021LR.pdf.  


A Review into the Residential care system in Queensland has been announced  

Following reports in the media about concerning conditions in Queensland’s residential care homes, the Queensland Minister for Child Protection has ordered a review into the Residential Care system in the state. Media reports raised concerns over the increasing number of young people in residential care, including a higher number of infants and young children, as well as serious youth offenders alongside them. Due to a lack of staff in the residences, whistleblowers gave shocking details about the living conditions in some of the facilities. 

Minister Crawford stated that the review will be wide-ranging with a focus on children aged under 12, First Nations children, and disabled children. 

Read the statement here: https://statements.qld.gov.au/statements/98174 


Submission to Homes Tasmania on Exposure Draft Housing Strategy  

CREATE recently provided a submission to Homes Tasmania on the Exposure Draft Housing Strategy. In our submission, we advocated for the Tasmanian Government to commit to timely action through a specialist mix of housing supports to divert young people who are leaving care from homelessness.  

While the Exposure Draft mentioned young people leaving care among groups whose needs should be met by the housing system, CREATE urged the Tasmanian Government to take more targeted action. This should include increased supported accommodation options for young people and access to specialist homelessness services for emergency and transitional accommodation support.  

Read our submission here. 


South Australia Youth Action Plan 2023-2026 Submission 

CREATE is finalising a submission to inform the development of a South Australia Youth Action Plan for 2023-2026. Through our submission, we will recommend that the needs and voices of young people in care should be taken into account not only in the context of policies strictly related to child protection and child safety, but more broadly in health and wellbeing, education, employment, access to services and resources, engagement activities, and other areas that may concern them to remove potential barriers and allow them to achieve positive life outcomes and successful futures.  


South Australia Report on Child Protection Expenditure 

The Guardian for Children and Young People released a report about child protection expenditure in South Australia in 2022-23. This report shows in-depth insights into how the money is spent, and what is prioritised. It shows, for example, that most of the expenditure goes towards young people in care, while a lesser proportion in the other states is directed towards child protection response. Also, it shows that South Australia expenditure on residential care is increasing, while overall, the government is spending less per individual child.  

Read the report: OGCYP-Child-Protection-from-the-Report-on-Government-Services-2023.pdf 


First NSW Rental Commissioner Appointed  

CREATE welcomed the recent appointment of Trina Jones as the first NSW Rental Commissioner. The new Commissioner will examine rental affordability and supply, encourage longer term rental agreements, investigate ways to improve energy efficiency for renters, develop educational resources for renters and owners, and monitor current rental laws.   

Recent research in Australia showed that one quarter of young people with a care experience surveyed had lost a tenancy or had been forced to leave their accommodation (McDowall, 2020). We look forward to seeing improvements made to the NSW rental system through the Commissioner’s work, to better support young people leaving care to access the private rental market and maintain stable tenancies.   

McDowall, J. J. (2020). Transitioning to Adulthood from Out-of-Home Care: Independence or Interdependence. CREATE Foundation. https://create.org.au/wpcontent/uploads/2021/05/CREATEPostCareReport2021LR.pdf.  


Raising the age of criminal responsibility in Tasmania                     

CREATE welcomes and strongly supports the Tasmanian Commissioner for Children and Young People’s Memorandum of Advice on the Age of Criminal Responsibility in Tasmania. 

Young people with a care experience are over-represented in the youth justice system. CREATE supports raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 years, with no exceptions. CREATE recommends strong prevention, diversion and therapeutic supports to address the needs of young people who may come into contact with the youth justice system, underpinned by rights-based, trauma-informed and culturally safe practice. 

See our joint statement with TasCOSS, the Youth Network of Tasmania and Relationships Australia Tasmania:  



Raising the age of criminal responsibility in the Northern Territory  

The Northern Territory announced that the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsibility from 10 years of age to 12. The Criminal Code Amendment (age of criminal responsibility) Bill (2022) was passed last November, and it will now come into effect from 1 August 2023. The Bill was based on recommendations of the landmark 2017 Royal Commission into the Detention and Protection of Children.  

CREATE welcomes the changes in the Bill as a positive step. However, CREATE encourages the development of further programs to support children and young people who may be at risk of getting involved in crime and the justice system, in particular early intervention programs for young people in care.  



Update on CREATE’s consultations 

CREATE’s annual consultations are now underway in the following states: 

  • New South Wales (Health and Wellbeing – for ages 14-17) 
  • Victoria (Health and Wellbeing for ages 14-17) 
  • Western Australia (Accessing Records for ages 18-25 ) 
  • Australian Capital Territory (Health and Wellbeing for ages 14-17) 
  • Northern Territory (Health and Wellbeing for ages 14-17) 

If you are a young person with a care experience in one of these states and would like to participate in one of our consultations, please get in touch with your state team:

If you would like to know more about CREATE’s consultations please check out our website: https://create.org.au/consultations/ 



Going to school or taking part in learning activities helps young people gain skills, make friends, feel confident, and work towards meaningful goals for the future (like getting a job, doing further studies or joining in community activities). Learning new skills increases life and work choices.  

Over the last couple of years, CREATE has talked to 105 young people with a care experience (including 59% who identified as First Nations) across Australia about their learning experiences and what supports would be helpful.  


Most frequently, young people said their learning experiences were Good or Very good. Young people told us their positive experiences were due to having learning support and getting on well with teachers and friends. 

  • School has been good. I actually like learning at school. Favourite subject is PE and a little bit of maths. (Female, 17)  
  • I’m getting a lot of support from teachers. They understand where I’m at. (Male, 17) 
  • …I think friends were the thing that mainly got me through at school. (Female, 16) 

Those who were less happy with their learning experiences said they had trouble with schoolwork, did not have enough support, were not excited to go to school, were unsettled by placement changes, and had concerns about bullying and mental health. 

  • I have trouble with the work. (Female, 15) 
  • I struggle to attend school… I get social anxiety which makes it hard to go. I do aspire to go to school, but I struggle. I try to go and learn but I can’t concentrate and focus so I’m struggling to see the point. (Female, 16) 
  • I should have had more support from the Department, from my school, and from the organisation who was handling my care. I would have liked to have had a tutor who would have helped me a lot more than my carer had helped me. (Non-binary, 19) 

At home, young people found it helpful when carers encouraged them and provided help (like helping with homework and driving them to and from school). 
However, some young people said they did not have support at home. 

  • She goes into bat for me to get support at school. She speaks to teachers to make sure I’m getting help with my schoolwork. (Female, 15) 
  • She encourages me to do my schoolwork; communicates with teachers. (Male, 15) 
  • My foster mum tried to help me, but she has dyslexia so some of it was too hard for her. I mostly had to do it by myself. (Female, 17) 


CREATE sent a report to each Government about what young people with a care experience in their state were saying about education. We urged Governments to make sure that young people with a care experience: 

  • have ongoing school and learning support, 
  • feel supported by teachers and carers,  
  • do not have a lot of placement and school changes, and 
  • are given extra support when there is a change.  

Thanks to all the young people who shared their experiences of education and learning with


Consultation opportunities 

South Australia Youth Action Plan  – South Australia is developing a Youth Action Plan for 2023-2026, and is looking for your input. Do you have an idea? Share suggestions you have about topics that are important to you, by dropping your ideas on their page or completing a quick survey. 

Mission Australia’s Youth Survey – If you are aged between 15 and 19, Mission Australia wants to hear from you for their annual Youth Survey: https://www.missionaustralia.com.au/what-we-do/research-impact-policy-advocacy/youth-survey 

Commission for Children and Young People in Victoria: Systemic inquiry into the educational experiences of children and young people living in out-of-home care – The Commission wants to hear from children and young people in care about their time at school and what improvements can be made to help them and others in the future. If you are interested in participating , please email engage@ccyp.vic.gov.au.