National Youth Homelessness Conference 2019


The Burdekin Association was in attendance at the first conference dedicated solely to youth homelessness in the past two decades. Our Patron, Professor Brian Burdekin, AO, our CEO Justene Gordon with our EA Megan Davenport all attended.

Justene was one of nine panelists who, together reflected on why youth homelessness remains a significant challenge in Australia in 2019 and what needs to be done to end it.

Our Patron Professor Brian Burdekin, AO, Keynote Speaker

The highlight of the conference was the keynote address from our very own Patron, Professor Brian Burdekin AO, who is also the Patron of the National Youth Commission (Youth Development Australia - the event organisers) .

The title of his keynote is ‘Youth Homelessness. It’s Been a Long Road’ and offers a summary of the key developments in youth homelessness today over the past three decades.

Delegates also heard about the importance of an holistic approach, input from local government, the private sector, the media, what’s happening overseas and ultimately whose responsibility it is and where we go to from here.

Prof Brian Burdekin OP ED

Prof Brian Burdekin Speech

Conference Communique

Professor Burdekin’s OP-ED article

Australia’s ‘care and protection’ programs for children are in crisis.
Featured in:

National Report Card on Youth Homelessness

Youth Development Australia also delivered the National Report Card on Youth Homelessness at the conference.

The report reveals that despite the 1989 and 2008 landmark studies on youth homelessness in Australia and a subsequent White Paper, “The Road Home: A National Approach to Reducing Homelessness” – a commitment by Government to halve youth homelessness by 2020, we haven’t made much progress and youth homelessness continues to rise.

You can read and download the full report YDA-Report-Card

Justene Participating on the Panel

Our CEO Justene Gordon contributed to a panel on day 1 of the conference about her experience of working with young people and the difficulties and challenges of youth homelessness on the Northern Beaches of Sydney.

The session was an excellent opportunity to exchange experiences about disadvantage, vulnerability, housing, the widening gap between rich and poor and how only a collaborative, holistic approach would work to end youth homelessness in Australia.

Panel discussion National Youth Homelessness Conference

Hearing from Youth

We also had the great privilege of hearing from two youths who experienced homelessness themselves – Leeroy and Queenie, now 22. They became homeless, sleeping on Melbourne’s streets when they were just 18,  all would agree inspiring and brave young people.

Premiere of ’10 Years On’

In addition to hearing from young people who have experienced homelessness delegates were invited to watch the premiere of the follow-up to ‘The Oasis documentary – 10 Years On’, featuring many of the young people from the original documentary.

Other Speakers

In addition to Professor Burdekin’s speech we heard from a number of industry experts, government ministries, regulators and academics – all of whom you can view here. One such speaker was the Hon. Doug Cameron, Shadow Minister for Housing and Homelessness – you can read his speech here.

Image Gallery

Some images from the event

We acknowledge the Aboriginal people of the Cadigal and Gayamaygal Clans. We acknowledge the Country on which we live, work, and gather as being Aboriginal land.

We acknowledge the lands, waterways and skies that are connected to Aboriginal people. We honour them and pay our deepest respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.

We respect their rightful place within our communities, and we value their ancient cultural knowledge and practices.

Aboriginal Flag
Torres Straight Island Flag

We deeply respect that this will always be Aboriginal land and we will honour and follow the first peoples’ values in caring for the Country and for preserving their culture.

We deeply value that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the oldest living culture in the world and we will continue to work with their peoples and communities to ensure their cultures endure and remain strong.