Impacts of COVID-19 on Young People

House of Representatives 26/08/2021

Mr KHALIL (Wills) (13:36): Our first big night out with friends; that first camping trip; that first overseas trip; that first day of uni, or of TAFE or of starting your first job; those rites of passage such as 16th, 18th and 21st birthdays; the last days of school, year 12 graduations and schoolies; or simply just catching up with friends—all those moments that, dare I say it, older Australians look back on fondly—are, for a generation of young Australians, moments missed and lost. Dreams have been put on hold, sacrificed to keep all of us in the broader community safe.

Too rarely has the impact of COVID-19 on young people been properly recognised. Young people are less likely to become seriously ill from COVID-19 but they have felt the full impacts of this pandemic nonetheless. Young people were the first to lose their jobs. They have endured the biggest disruptions to their education in modern history, not to mention the overwhelming mental health impacts of lockdowns. Young workers are also the least likely group to have received financial support for their lost work.

But I am continually amazed by the perseverance and optimism of young people. They have come in droves to get vaccinated as soon as they have become eligible, doing their bit to increase our vaccination rates and to get us out of lockdowns. So I want to thank all young people in my electorate and around Australia for doing their bit—for getting vaccinated and for all their sacrifices that have kept us all safe.