SUPPORT TEENAGERS: Personal growth comes from being supported and encouraged, so to say limiting how welfare money is spent may improve a kid's future is confounding.
SUPPORT TEENAGERS: Personal growth comes from being supported and encouraged, so to say limiting how welfare money is spent may improve a kid's future is confounding. Jacob Ammentorp Lund

Boundary Rider: Time to motivate teenagers - not limit them

AS I get older there are more times when I hear words ejected from a politician's mouth that make me scratch my head.

The latest was Keith Pitt when he stated some high school students aspired to be on the dole.

His statement supported the Cashless Debit Card trial in Hinkler because he believed the card may break down generational welfare dependency.

Time will only tell on that point. What Mr Pitt may believe is the card might motivate students to get a job, and not be welfare dependent.

I spoke to teachers this week, and the response was that no student said they truly wanted to be on the dole when they leave school.

What Mr Pitt needs to understand is that, as an ex-teenager, I don't believe the limitations of the card, and his comments, may have the desired effect.

When I was in my final years of school I was not the greatest student, but despite this I wanted a job when I left.

That's because inherently teenagers are aspirational and talking them down is not where a positive future starts for them. Being constrained won't motivate people - it will have the opposite effect.

Personal growth comes from being supported and encouraged, so to say limiting how welfare money is spent may improve a kid's future is confounding.

Is there another way the government could improve the future of Australia's teenagers?

What about more support services for at-risk youth, or training and further education?

After cutting $1.6 billion from the vocational training budget I wonder if this government might realise some training opportunities have been lost to the students who are not university bound.

And in turn some may not see a bright future.

What I am imploring Mr Pitt, and his government colleagues, to do is not to shove teenagers in a box labelled "no hopers” but try and consider ways to support and encourage them.

He could use his position to try and get a better outcome for the next generation through his influence instead of restricting their development through a welfare program, questionable at best.

At least then when Mr Pitt speaks, I won't question where Australia is heading because I know he might be guiding us in the right direction.