Logan is one of the most diverse cities in Australia being home to more than 320,000 people from more than 217 different cultures. Logan is also a very young city with around 50 per cent of residents aged 30 or younger (Logan City Council, 2016).
The community of Logan, like many across Queensland, face the ongoing challenge of addressing the issues of social disadvantage within the community. In Logan City Council report, “The State of the City – 2013”, it was acknowledged that Logan City has a “…higher percentage of child development vulnerability across all domains within the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) in comparison to state and national averages”. (Logan City Council, 2013).
The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute’s case study report, released in November 2014, identified the younger demographic of Logan as being ‘particularly vulnerable to the experience of disadvantage’. The report identified that in 2011, approximately one-third of young people aged 15 years and over had left school at by the end of Year 10, and youth unemployment for young people aged between 15-24 years was at 43.8%. The report found evidence that many vulnerable young people in Logan lacked “vision for their own lives”. The prevalence of mental illness and youth suicide among this group, and it was hypothesised that these outcomes may be ‘symptomatic of a sense of hopelessness that resulted from entrenched disadvantage [extending] across generations’. Inter-generational unemployment, welfare dependency as well as family dysfunction were identified as factors that placed young people at risk of abuse, neglect, engagement in anti-social and criminal behaviour, family breakdown, homelessness, truancy and disengagement from education. (Zappia & Cheshir, 2014)
While it is important to acknowledge the needs of the local community, it is imperative that the community work together and share a positive outlook for the future of Logan City. Targeted programs such as The Carbrook Animal Assisted Learning Centre, which demonstrate an ongoing involvement and commitment to initiatives that are innovative in nature, in collaboration with like-minded stakeholders, can collaboratively aim to achieve this vision for Logan. In particular, programs that target the most vulnerable, marginalised young people are imperative.