New advisory committee for young people

Published on 05 July 2024

Young people sitting

Young people in the Hepburn Shire local government area will form a new advisory group to share insights on challenges for young people living, working and studying in Hepburn Shire. 

In partnership with the Foundation for Young Australians, the Youth Advisory Group will look at ways to increase young peoples’ engagement in civic life within the Hepburn area. 

The Youth Advisory Group will play an important role in working towards a democratically elected Youth Council as part of the Young Mayors program.  

Hepburn Shire Council is one of six councils participating in a two-year pilot study. This pilot tests new ways of backing young people to be centered in the decisions that affect their lives. Across Australia, this will be done by a democratic election of 11 to 17-year olds onto Youth Councils within local governments. 

Hepburn Shire Mayor, Councillor Brian Hood, said that Council was thrilled to be part of this groundbreaking new program that brings openness and curiosity to what the Shire’s young people need in order to participate in civic life.  

“Our Council staff have worked closely with the Young Mayors team over the past few months to support young people to nominate as candidates for the Hepburn Youth Council, and we’ve heard loud and clear that more work needs to be done to understand the concerns of young people in our community before they conduct a formal vote process, so it’s fantastic that Council and the Foundation for Young Australians have been able to pivot to the Youth Advisory Group,” Cr Hood said. 

Young Mayors Executive Director, Tahlia Azaria, said the Young Mayors program is designed to help change systems that traditionally exclude young people from actively participating in their communities. 

“Young people care deeply about their futures, but they are chronically disempowered. We’re excited to be working with Hepburn to find the best way to back young people to run for election, and then use their mandate to represent the interests of their constituents”, Ms Azaria said. 

The Young Mayors program is being piloted in partnership with local councils in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales. There were 7,095 young people who voted in 2023 to elect 39 young people to Youth Councils in Mackay, Cairns, Wollongong and Horsham.