Young Australians

3 Nov | '2022

I’m so pleased to rise in the Federation Chamber today to speak about my electorate of Moncrieff, which I love deeply, and youths—the future of our great country. Last month I asked members from the Moncrieff Community Cabinet to nominate a youth representative aged between 15 and 24 to attend the Moncrieff youth roundtable in my office. On 13 October youth representatives across the electorate came together. We talked about those issues that are important to young people today. The Mission Australia Youth Survey from 2021 outlined the top 5 areas of concern for the young people of our country.

We talked about social impacts on young people and the impact of COVID-19 on their education, the interruption to that. We talked about the environment and sustainability, which is important to everybody across our great nation, everybody across the world, but in particular this is a concern for young people. We talked about their economic future. Remarkably, many of the participants actually said they hadn’t spoken about this before, it’s not something they’d learned about in school, and they were particularly keen to learn about how they could have a strong economic future. We talked about equality and inclusion—again, a very important concern. It was in the top 5 key areas of concern for young people. And last, but certainly not least, we talked about mental health and wellbeing. This was an area that we spent extra time on.

It was a great day, and it was a room full of insightful feedback. We talked about the lives of young people and what they wanted to do for their future and their dreams. One of the key outcomes was the establishment of a Gold Coast youth cabinet, which I’m very excited to work with. These are just a couple of comments from some of the participants. Matt, who’s 17, has a strong interest in mental health. He said, through the cabinet, he was ‘hoping to do some good and raise awareness for concerns the community is trying to get help with’. Kimberly, also 17, said: ‘Youths are the future, we’re the next generation who will guide the country and be leaders. So, if the leaders know what we’re interested in and what we want to do and what we want them to do, they can work towards our issues and voice them for us.’

The Gold Coast youth cabinet will help me form the agenda for the Gold Coast youth impact summit, which we are convening on the Gold Coast next March, which will bring together 200 delegates from across the Gold Coast to talk about these five top key issues, but also provide opportunities for young people on the Gold Coast. It’s my great pleasure and great honour, as the shadow minister for youth, to work with the young people of the Gold Coast about their future dreams, about their future aspirations.

Just a quick word to the youth of Australia: you are our future, and I’m very keen to work with you to make sure that you have a very strong voice on your future and the future direction of our country.

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