Racism the biggest issue for young Indigenous people: UN report

A snapshot of young Indigenous people who responded to the survey.
A snapshot of young Indigenous people who responded to the survey.

A UN Youth Representative Listening Tour of Australia has found that racism was the most raised issue among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.

The survey presented to the UN in 2019 interviewed thousands of young people over a seven-month period covering 100,000km and 56 towns and cities in every state and territory.

There were many issues raised but racism was the biggest.

One young person spoke of being denied service on a regular basis at a local store if not in the company of a non-Indigenous person and another spoke of day-to-day "microaggressions" such as people moving their bags away as she walked past.

Another young person from Mount Isa similarly described being regularly accused of dishonesty and theft despite having done nothing wrong.

"Sometimes, I just voluntarily empty my bag before going into a shop, so I don't get accused of stealing," the young person told the survey.

Mount Isa was one of 29 consultations in Queensland involved a number of regional, rural and remote communities.

Along with racism, climate change and the environment was one of the top five issues identified by young people in Queensland.

"We're worried about climate change ... [young people are] using less plastic, pushing for recycling bins around town, planting more trees in our own backyard," said one respondent from Happy Valley State School.

Lack of education opportunities was another.

"There is a TAFE, but many young people in communities don't know how to apply, or if they do, they don't get support" said a respondent at the Headspace and Three Sons Fitness consultation in Mount Isa.

Across the state, young Queenslanders seemed more optimistic than their interstate counterparts on a range of measures.

"Hope is powerful. Connecting individuals' skills and values with bigger community groups helps make change. We need hope to be productive" said a respondent at the Headspace and Three Sons Fitness consultation in Mount Isa.

This story Racism the biggest issue for young Indigenous people: UN report first appeared on The North West Star.