Young adults' experience with Australian public services

Young adults' experiences with Australian public services

Australian public services are central to the lives of young Australians. They provide our welfare systems, support with education and employment, run systems of taxation, and monitor international travel.

In this study we set out to understand young people’s experiences and perceptions of Australian public services by first understanding young people’s transitions towards adulthood. We seek to engage a broad range of young Australians (18-30), from across the country, who connect with a range of these services. We have designed a comprehensive mixed-method study to explore these issues including focus groups, secondary data analysis, a national survey, and social media sentiment analysis.

This project is guided by the following research questions:

  • What are the current pathways young people take into adulthood in Australia?
  • Where, when and how do young people interact with Australian public services?
  • What are young people’s perceptions of and experiences with Australian public services?
  • Where, when and how can Australian public services be delivered to meet young people’s needs and expectations?

This project has completed data collection, and is no longer seeking participants nor collecting survey responses. We delivered a final report for public service stakeholders in October 2020.

If you participated in our focus groups or responded to our survey, and would like further information, you can read our full Explanatory Statement here.

Should you have any queries about the conduct of the project, please contact the Monash University Human Research Ethics (MUHREC), with the ID number 25637. Phone: +61 3 9905 2052 | Email:

If you are interested in the project's findings and outputs, please read on.

What’s happened so far

Your experiences with Australian public services have informed a rich picture of how young adults enter, transition between and exit Australian public services. This picture incorporates findings from:

  • 47 focus groups with 155 young adults from around Australia, aged 18-30.
  • 2,261 responses to a national survey of young adults, aged 18-30.
  • 30,000 social media posts, collected from Twitter, Reddit and Whirlpool.
  • Secondary analysis of longitudinal data from the Longitudinal Surveys of Australian Youth and the Our Lives study.

The feedback you have provided has shown us it can be difficult for you to understand what services are available, and how to access them. You’ve let us know how important being able to get the support you need is and even helped to identify how we can think about making service-delivery better.

What it’s contributed to: the National Youth Policy Framework

Monash provided findings to the APS, and work is underway to mobilise findings to inform decision making, and generate practical actions across the APS that improve service delivery for young adults. This includes informing the National Youth Policy Framework. These conversations and actions will continue, with the goal to make services more integrated and easy to navigate for young people.

Without your insights, it is not possible to deliver better experiences. Your feedback is immensely valuable to drive forward actions and we thank you for taking part in this research.

Research findings snapshots:

Young adults in the eye of the storm

As part of the University of Newcastle's youth studies seminar series, 2020.

The pandemic present and the unequal future

As part of the Monash University, School of Social Sciences event for Social Sciences Week 2021. Youth futures: civic participation, social justice, and COVID-19.

‘Being passive won't really get you to where you want to be’: young adults’ future aspirations from a pandemic present

As part of the COVID-19 and Youth Futures panel at The Australian Sociological Association (TASA) annual conference 2021.