Young people's participation at all levels of politics and society is regarded as crucial in Austria. The Department for Families and Youth at the Federal Chancellery acts as an important focal point on the issue. For the Austrian youth policy, the participation of young people is of particular importance. Like youth policy in general, participation is a cross-sectorial topic and requires implementation in all areas of politics.
In order to increase the opportunities for young people to actively participate in society, a number of measures has been implemented. With regard to politics, the national voting age was lowered to 16 years (Wählen mit 16). In an effort to provide young people with an informed basis for decision-making, the Austrian Youth Information Centres and their Youth Portal Website have been strengthened. And in terms of civic engagement, Austria successfully aims to pass its strong position of 46% of people over the age of 15 (3.5 million people according to the Freiwilligenweb) engaging in volunteer work on to the next generation: around 43% of young people aged 15-29 years volunteer.
The Federal Youth Promotion Act (Bundes-Jugendförderungsgesetz), which came into effect in 2001, defines projects worthy of support as those which in particular include the participation of young people in all areas of life, as well as responsibility, independence and the promotion of democracy as principles of their youth work.