Many small communities across the vast interior of Australia are under pressure from ongoing rural restructuring and a long-running drought. Socioeconomic indicators suggest that rural people are significantly disadvantaged by comparison with their urban counterparts. While these factors are evident, less well understood are the circumstances of rural and remote young people. In this article we draw on research conducted in 2001 and 2004 on the employment and educational experiences of young people in these communities. Using Reimer's typology of relations associated with social exclusion ' market, bureaucratic, associative and communal ' we indicate that rural and remote young people are experiencing rising levels of social exclusion. Their access to education and employment is restricted through no fault of their own, and is in fact, obstructed by government policy. The need for sensitive policy to increase the social inclusion of young people in rural and remote areas is evident.