• Tony Ryall
Youth Affairs

"Too many young men think they are immortal," Acting Minister of Youth Affairs Tony Ryall said today. "The Government is going to tackle the 'risk-taking' behaviour of young men and its high cost to themselves, their families and the rest of society.

"Young men are over-represented in road accidents, violence and work related accidents, and in problems such as drug and alcohol addiction, unemployment and unwanted fatherhood. The parents of young men carry terrible fears for their sons during their late teens and early twenties.

"It's no surprise that the community takes a dim view of young men and the trouble they can cause. That stigma seems to be carried through to a lack of policy targeted towards the problems that young men face, their behaviour and its effect on the rest of society."

Mr Ryall said tackling these issues would be a priority for the Ministry of Youth Affairs. A report prepared in May would lay the ground work for policy initiatives expected by the end of the year. The report found that:

15-24 year old men have the highest rate of road death;
young men are twice as likely to be killed or injured as young woman;
young men aged 18-24 years are over represented among heavy drinkers;
hospital admissions for cannabis dependence is highest among men aged 20-24 years;
male offending peaks in the 20-24 age group;
in 1996, 28787 men aged 15-24 were convicted of an offence.
Mr Ryall said the Ministry of Youth Affairs would consult with other government agencies and seek input from young people on solutions for helping young men.